David P. Mahlenbrock: The combat engineer, 20, is remembered as confident and competent
By Rosemarie Bernardo
Russell Mahlenbrock and his son, Spc. David P. Mahlenbrock, looked forward to raising their children together. "He thought it was great," said Russell Mahlenbrock yesterday in a phone interview from Maple Shade, N.J. "He had said, 'Wow, Dad, you're having a kid, I'm having a kid."
"We kind of planned (on having) a lot of barbecues and watching the kids grow up together," the elder Mahlenbrock said.
Mahlenbrock had recently celebrated the birth of his fourth son, several weeks after celebrating the birth of his first grandchild, David's first kid.
But now David will not be there for the barbecues, and he won't get to watch his daughter, Kadence, and youngest brother, Darek, grow up together.
A roadside bomb struck a Humvee in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Friday, killing David, 20, and wounding two other soldiers. Mahlenbrock, a combat engineer, was clearing a route when the bomb detonated.
Mahlenbrock's father says he plans to tell Kadence -- his only grandchild -- that her father was a good man.
"She would've liked knowing him, and it was a shame that he had to leave," he said. "She's going to be a lot like him."
"I think Dave was a fine example of a young man who believed in what his country stood for and was willing to put his life on the line for it. He was proud to serve his country. He made us all proud, too," his father said.
"He went in with a lot of confidence," he added. "The furthest thing from his mind was that something was going to happen. I know he was not afraid of anything over there."
According to a New Jersey newspaper, the Camden Courier-Post, David Mahlenbrock was able to see his daughter, now 10 weeks old, for the first time recently during a brief visit to New Jersey.
But he returned to Iraq before meeting his youngest brother, Darek, who was born on Nov. 14.
The young Mahlenbrock was a varsity football player and avid wrestler at Maple Shade High School, where he graduated in 2002. He also enjoyed swimming, camping and paintball.
"He was positive and outgoing. He was a 'can do' kind of guy. There was nothing he couldn't do," said his father. "He was just an exceptional individual. Dave was rare."
David married Melissa, his high school sweetheart, on Oahu about a year and a half ago. "When we first started dating at 14, I told my mom, 'I'm going to marry him,'" Melissa told the Courier-Post. "It was the best decision I ever made."
"I just want everyone to know what kind of man he was," she said. "He was one of the best men I ever met in my entire life."
David Mahlenbrock enlisted in the Army in October 2002. He was later assigned to the Bravo Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light), in February 2003.
Mahlenbrock was in Iraq for 11 months and was due to return to Hawaii in March.
His father said he and his son talked or e-mailed each other at least once a week. "He would talk about how much he missed us and how he looked forward to coming home," he said.
Mahlenbrock paused as he thought of what he would later tell his youngest son about his older brother.
"I would tell him his brother died fighting for his freedom," he said as his voice trembled in sadness. "I would tell him his brother was a hero who was killed in the war."
A funeral service is expected to be held in Maple Shade.
Mahlenbrock is survived by wife Melissa; daughter Kadence; father Russell; brothers Chris, Andrew and Darek; and stepmother Elizabeth.
Note: that it says the services are in Maple Shade, NJ ==========================================
From the State of New Jersey
RELEASE: December 10, 2004
Codey Orders Flags to Fly Half-Staff to Honor Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock
(TRENTON)In honor of U.S. Army Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock, 20, of Maple Shade, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey signed an Executive Order calling for the United States and New Jersey flags to fly half-staff Monday, December 13.
Specialist Mahlenbrocks courage and commitment make him worthy of the highest honor, Acting Governor Codey said. He made the greatest possible sacrifice for the country he loves. New Jersey and America are proud of him, just as his family and community are proud of him. We will keep Specialist Mahlenbrock and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
Specialist Mahlenbrock died Dec. 3 in Kirkuk, Iraq. He was clearing a route when an improvised explosive device detonated. He was assigned to the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
A copy of the Executive Order is attached:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11
WHEREAS, U.S. Army Specialist David Mahlenbrock, a resident of Maple Shade, graduated from Maple Shade High School in 2002, where he was a member of the football team and captain of the wrestling team; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Mahlenbrock enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after graduation, and planned to make a career of his service in the Army; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Mahlenbrock served proudly as a member of the U.S. Armys 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, and was deployed to Iraq in the service of his country in January 2004; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Mahlenbrock was a courageous soldier, and a loving husband, father, son and brother; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Mahlenbrock has made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life in the line of duty while fighting for our country; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Mahlenbrocks patriotism and dedicated service to his country make him a hero and a true role model for all Americans and, therefore, it is appropriate and fitting for the State of New Jersey to mark his passing and to honor his memory;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Monday, December 13, 2004, in recognition and mourning of U.S. Army Specialist David Mahlenbrock.
2. This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 10th day of December
in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Four, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Ninth.
Richard J. Codey
/s/ Mark J. Fleming
Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor