David Paul Mahlenbrock
Specialist, United States Army
December 6, 2004
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock, 20, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, died December 3, 2004 in Kirkuk, Iraq, when he was clearing a route and an improvised explosive device detonated. Mahlenbrock was assigned to the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
MAPLE SHADE, NEW JERSEY - Funeral services for U.S. Army Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock, who was killed in Iraq on Friday, will be held here Sunday and Monday before the township native is laid to rest Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Family and friends may call Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home, 600 E. Main St. in Maple Shade. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 26 Forklanding Road.
Mahlenbrock will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Mahlenbrock, 20, was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was clearing a route in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
A graduate of Maple Shade High School, Mahlenbrock was a combat engineer who cleared roads and swept mines with the Army's 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
Mahlenbrock leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and their 10-week-old daughter, Kadence.
He is also survived by his father, Russell Mahlenbrock; brothers Chris, Andrew and Darek; and his stepmother, Elizabeth.
The Maple Shade Veterans of Foreign War Post 2445 will pay tribute to Mahlenbrock by serving as an honor guard at the services, said John Radie, past post commander. The U.S. Army also will provide an honor guard.
"We are doing whatever we can for the family," Radie said yesterday. "He was a vet and he was overseas serving his country when he was killed. He died too young and we want to give him full military honors."
Soldiers' Angels, a Nevada-based nonprofit organization that seeks to support U.S. military personnel and their families, is still attempting to convince country music star Toby Keith to personally sing "American Soldier" during Mahlenbrock's funeral.
Mahlenbrock requested that the song be played during his funeral in a letter he wrote to his fellow squad members July 1, 2004.
Viktoria Carter, director of public relations for Soldiers' Angels, said she has been in contact with Keith's managers about the proposal.
Carter said she and other members of Soldiers' Angels have already begun calling country-and-western radio stations in various parts of the United States to request that they play "American Soldier" at 1 p.m. Wednes-day.
The song would be dedicated to Mahlenbrock.
"This family story has touched so many different people," Carter said. "...There's a lot of people rooting for this family."
Condolences may be sent to the family in care of the Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home.
Contributions may be made to: Maple Shade High School, David Mahlenbrock Memorial Fund, 180 Fredrick Ave., Maple Shade, N.J. 08052.
11 December 2004:
MAPLE SHADE, NEW JERSEY - A candlelight vigil in memory of hometown hero U.S. Army Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock is scheduled tonight at 7 at the municipal complex on Stiles Avenue.
Mahlenbrock, 20, died December 3, 2004, in Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated while he was clearing a route in the city of Kirkuk.
He was a combat engineer with the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii and had been in Iraq since January.
Mahlenbrock grew up in the township and was a 2002 graduate of Maple Shade High School. His father and three brothers still live in Maple Shade.
"The vigil really was spontaneous," Township Manager George Haeuber said yesterday. "The members of Township Council really wanted to recognize David Mahlen-brock as a resident who contributed to his community and his country."
He said candles would be provided.
Meanwhile, Soldiers' Angels, a Nevada-based nonprofit organization that supports U.S. military personnel and their families, was unable to convince country music star Toby Keith to personally sing "American Soldier" during Mahlen-brock's funeral.
Mahlenbrock requested that the song be played during his funeral in a letter he wrote to his fellow squad members July 1.
Tami Kimball, media director for Soldiers' Angels, said Keith's managers said the singer sets aside this time of the year to spend with his family.
Services for Mahlenbrock will be held in Maple Shade tomorrow and Monday before the soldier is laid to rest Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Family and friends may call tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home, 600 E. Main St., Maple Shade. Services are scheduled at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 26 Forklanding Road.
Mahlenbrock will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home.
Contributions may be made to: Maple Shade High
School, David Mahlenbrock Memorial Fund, 180 Fredrick Ave., Maple Shade,
13 December 2004:
Fallen Army veteran remembered
MAPLE SHADE, NEW JERSEY - Friends and family of fallen Army Specialist David Mahlenbrock gathered last night at a funeral home to remember a man who one mourner said "would do anything for you."
"There wasn't a bad bone in his body," said township resident Ron Socha, 22, who was on the wrestling team with Mahlenbrock when they attended Maple Shade High School.
Mahlenbrock, a 20-year-old combat engineer with the Army's 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, died December 3, 2004, when an improvised explosive device exploded while he was clearing a road in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Mourners passed through Inglesby-Givnish Funeral Home last night, paying their final respects to the fallen serviceman.
Gina Capate, 33, of Maple Shade said one of her sisters dates one of Mahlenbrock's best friends, a Marine stationed in Iraq. Her youngest sister, Brittani Capate, 13, said Mahlenbrock would come back to their house on Halloween, and the two would trade candy.
"He was a guy who would do anything for you," Gina Capate said. "He just a kind-hearted person."
Mahlenbrock's funeral service will be at 11 a.m. today at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 26 Forklanding Road, Maple Shade. The Maple Shade Veterans of Foreign War Post 2445 will serve as honor guard at the funeral, and the Army also will provide an honor guard.
Mahlenbrock will be buried with full military honors at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Contributions may be made to: Maple Shade High
School, David Mahlenbrock Memorial Fund, 180 Fredrick Ave., Maple Shade,
14 December 2004:
Family tearfully fulfills Army soldier's last
Army Specialist David Mahlenbrock had a special request should he die in the line of duty. In a letter to his fellow soldiers in July, the young combat engineer asked that Toby Keith's song "American Soldier" be played at his funeral.
It was a wish no one ever wanted to contemplate.
Yesterday his family tearfully granted it.
Keith's song echoed through Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mahlenbrock's native Maple Shade, a sound track to the life that hundreds gathered to remember.
And I will always do my duty no matter what
The words couldn't drown out the heaving sobs that filled the Burlington County church as family, friends and strangers mourned the death of a young soldier, husband and father.
Mahlenbrock, 20, whose job was clearing routes to ensure the safe passage of fellow soldiers, died December 3, 2004, when a bomb detonated near his humvee just outside Kirkuk, Iraq.
Yesterday, as Mahlenbrock's song played, his older brother, Christopher, 21, an Army reservist who helped carry the flag-draped coffin, wrapped his arm around younger brother Andrew, 16.
Mahlenbrock's 19-year-old widow, Melissa, cuddled his 11-week-old daughter, Kadence, bundled in tiny black clothes in honor of a father she'll never know.
In a music-filled ceremony punctuated by biblical readings, friends and relatives remembered a man who gave everything his all, from his days as a scrappy football player and wrestler at Maple Shade High School to a soldier fighting for his country. Mahlenbrock, who had joined the Army after graduating in 2002 and left for Iraq in January, planned a career in the military.
"Devotion... was written all over David's life," said the Rev. Carl E. Joecks, church pastor.
But Mahlenbrock, Joecks said, was most devoted to his wife, whom he met at age 14 and married last year. When she took a job at one point at the Bed Bath & Beyond in Cherry Hill, Mahlenbrock would walk or jog the seven-mile round trip just to be with her on her 30-minute lunch break.
When Mahlenbrock became a father in late September, he threw himself into that role with equal passion. When he returned home on leave to see Kadence, then about a week old, he couldn't put her down, Joecks said.
"He threw a lifetime of fatherly love into that two-week leave," the pastor said.
Mahlenbrock would never get to meet his half-brother, Darek, born three weeks ago.
Mahlenbrock always had an affect on those who met him, family and friends said. He would do crazy things just to get someone to crack a smile, Joecks said.
"I see the world in a different way," said Mahlenbrock's father, Russell, choking up at the microphone. "David has changed me from the inside out."
Christopher Mahlenbrock urged the teary crowd to spend time with their families at Christmas, let them know they are loved. "Because you don't know when they will leave, when they will be taken away from you," he said.
David Mahlenbrock knew the possibility of death was real. He wrote the July letter to his squad mates after a scare involving an explosive.
"If you are reading this, then I've died for our country," he wrote in the letter, supplied by Soldiers' Angels, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing aid and comfort to soldiers and their families. "I just hope it wasn't for nothing."
In it, he asked that his wife get a few special items, including a dog tag with the couple's picture and an American flag he kept in his left breast pocket. And he asked that "American Soldier" be played at his funeral.
It was a request taken seriously by Soldiers' Angels, which tried but failed to get country crooner Keith to sing at the service. Instead, it put out the word to radio stations across the country to play the song at 1 p.m. EST tomorrow, the day Mahlenbrock will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
"If you can't get to a radio station, then play it or sing it," said Patti Bader, founder of the group. "If all of America plays that song, that's what he wanted."
He also wanted bagpipes, which accompanied his casket as it was carried out of the church.
After the ceremony, Christopher Mahlenbrock, who works funeral honors detail as a reservist with the 656th Area Support Group in Willow Grove, led a salute to his brother. A white-gloved hand raised to his temple, he solemnly stood as the silver hearse carrying the casket drove away.
Burying a brother would be enough to scare many away from a wartime tour. But Mahlenbrock's brothers are even more resolute about pursuing careers in the military.
"I don't want to go over there. No one wants to go over there," Christopher Mahlenbrock said. "But I feel it's my duty to go, to understand what my brother went through."
Andrew said he still planned to serve four years in the Army, Navy or Air Force, then go to college and join the reserve.
"I feel even more now that I should go into it, do my duty... and get some payback," he said.
14 December 2004:
Services held for combat engineer
Hundreds mourn Maple Shade soldier
By JASON NARK
Cpurtesy of the Courier-Post
In his death, Army Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock taught his family, friends and a small blue-collar town some life lessons.
Love, sacrifice, and faith were some of the lessons mentioned Monday as hundreds gathered inside Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to honor Mahlenbrock, a 20-year-old combat engineer who died with two other soldiers Dec. 3 when a car bomb exploded near Kirkuk, Iraq.
As Mahlenbrock's 11-week-old daughter cried and cooed inside the church, his father Russell spoke of how his son has humbled him.
"He has changed me," said Russell Mahlenbrock. "He is the teacher now and I am the student."
Mahlenbrock, a former football player and wrestler at Maple Shade High School, was the 10th soldier with ties to South Jersey to be killed in the war on terror.
His brother, Chris Mahlenbrock, a 21-year-old Army reservist, spoke of his brother's faith.
"He had more faith than anyone else I know," said Chris Mahlenbrock, standing in full uniform at the church podium. "He believed in what he was doing."
Mahlenbrock's love for his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Kadence, however, was stronger than anything else in his life, said Pastor Carl Joecks.
"His heart was her own," said Joecks of the high-school sweethearts.
Mahlenbrock met his daughter for the first time while home on leave in October. In that short amount of time, he tried to cram in a lifetime's worth of memories and experiences with her, including going to the zoo and making DVDs of himself reading stories, Joecks said.
"It was almost as if he had a sense," said Joecks as many in the church sobbed.
"He couldn't stop holding her."
Just a block from the heart of downtown Maple Shade, the pain in the small church was felt by the entire town, Joecks said, but those same mourners could use Mahlenbrock's life as inspiration.
"His life speaks more clearly than any sermon," said Joecks.
Senator Jon Corzine, D-New Jersey, was one of many lawmakers at Mahlenbrock's funeral.
"He is a true hero to all of you," Corzine told the mourners. "He is a true American hero."
Chris Mahlenbrock said he will honorably serve his country if called to duty in Iraq.
"I know what could happen. I won't hesitate," said the eldest Mahlenbrock, standing outside the church.
Another brother, Andrew Mahlenbrock, 16, also plans to enlist in the Army.
As a blustery wind carried the sound of bagpipes outside, a single tear dropped down the weathered face of Owen Vandvelt.
Vandvelt, a pallbearer and World War II veteran, was saddened by the loss of such a young life.
"We thought we were fighting then to prevent more wars in the future," said Vandvelt, 80. "It really makes you wonder if anyone really wants peace in this world."
Mahlenbrock will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday morning.
HOW TO HELP
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to
the David Mahlenbrock Memorial Fund, c/o Maple Shade High School, 180 Frederick
Ave., Maple Shade 08052.
Fallen Soldier Leaves Behind Newborn Girl
N.J. Serviceman Buried At Arlington Called 'Sweet'
By Leef Smith
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Army Specialist David P. Mahlenbrock was introduced to his newborn daughter Kadence in September during a visit home to his native Maple Shade, New Jersey.
Family members said the combat engineer did
his best to make the short visit with his firstborn memorable, taking her
to the zoo and making several DVDs of himself reading bedtime stories,
according to news reports.
The DVDs will now endure as a precious memory for the 2-month-old, whose father was buried yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. Mahlenbrock, 20, was killed December 3, 2004, in Kirkuk, Iraq. He was clearing a route when a bomb planted by insurgents detonated. Two other soldiers were injured in the attack.
Yesterday, Mahlenbrock's 19-year-old wife, Melissa, and his father, Russell Mahlenbrock, were joined graveside by dozens of fellow mourners, among them Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey. Mahlenbrock's mother died two years ago.
He was the 106th service member killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.
"Today we come to lay to rest a true patriot," Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Kerr , an Army chaplain, told those gathered at Mahlenbrock's grave, braced against the winter cold. "We are thankful for his service to our nation. . . . There are no words that can take away our pain for a brother in arms that has fallen in battle."
Mahlenbrock, who was assigned to the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light) at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, joined the Army in 2002 after graduating from high school. He was deployed to Iraq in January and had been overseas for nearly a year.
Mahlenbrock and his wife were just 9 years old when they met in grade school in Maple Shade, according to news reports. By the time they were 14, Melissa told friends they were destined to be together, telling her mother, "I'm going to marry him," according to wire service reports.
Friends described Mahlenbrock, who was a running back on the high school football team and captain of the school's wrestling team, as "sweet" and "optimistic."
But after a close call on the job in Iraq, Mahlenbrock wrote a letter to some of his buddies detailing how several of his treasured possessions should be distributed in the event of his death.
"If you're reading this, then I've died for our country," he wrote. "I just hope it wasn't for nothing."
He specifically asked that his dog tags and an American flag he kept in his pocket be given to his wife. He also asked that the Toby Keith song "American Soldier" be played at his memorial service at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Maple Shade.
The soldier's brother Christopher Mahlenbrock, 21, an Army reservist, was among the family members who spoke Monday at the service, urging those gathered to be close to their loved ones this holiday season. "You don't know when they will leave, when they will be taken away from you," he said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Yesterday, the Army gave Mahlenbrock's family the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart he had been awarded posthumously.
Mourners left the cemetery to the sound of
a bagpipe and the strains of "Amazing Grace."
Fallen S.J. soldier buried at Arlington
Courtesy of the Gannett News Service
16 December 2004
As his 19-year-old widow, next-of-kin and friends looked on, Army Specialist David Paul Mahlenbrock took his place Wednesday among the nation's fallen war heroes, with his burial at the stately Arlington National Cemetery.
Mahlenbrock, of Maple Shade, a combat engineer who cleared routes and swept for mines, was killed with two other soldiers December 3, 2004, when a car bomb exploded in Kirkuk, Iraq, north of Baghdad.
Army chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Kerr described Mahlenbrock, 20, as "a young man who answered the call of his nation . . . to defend freedom. We are here to thank him for his service to the nation. We honor him today for his sacrifice."
Kerr shared the Bible's hope for a resurrection and talked about how Mahlenbrock felt the presence and pressure of the enemy, just as Israelite King David did.
"I thought it was most amazing ceremony and I thought my husband got everything that he deserved," said his widow, Melissa Mahlenbrock.
"I really feel honored to be able to have my husband there. He got buried in the section for all active-duty soldiers who have passed. So, he's next to all his brothers . . . and I think that's very beautiful," she said.
About three dozen family and friends attended the graveside service on a cold and windy morning. Neatly lined rows of white marble headstones provided a solemn backdrop.
Six pall bearers carried the flag-draped casket from a hearse to the grave site. Mahlenbrock's widow, his father, Russell, and other relatives sat in chairs draped with emerald green velvet during the 15-minute ceremony.
On bended knee, Major General James A. Cheatham presented two American flags to Mahlenbrock's widow and father. Later, Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey gently touched them both on the knee as he passed by.
At the end of the ceremony, a seven-member firing party fired three volleys into the air, and a lone bugler played "Taps."
Gary Cundiff of the Cherry Hill police department, played "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes after the family received a card of condolence, which was a message expressing sympathy for their loss, from the Army's chief of staff.
Mahlenbrock was awarded posthumously the Bronze Star for heroic or meritorious service and the Purple Heart Medal for being wounded in combat.
Mahlenbrock was a former football running back and wrestling captain at Maple Shade High School, where he graduated in June 2002. He was the 10th soldier with ties to South Jersey to be killed in the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He married his high school sweetheart, whom he met when he was 9, and they have an 11-week-old girl, Kadence, whom he saw for the first time when he visited home on leave in October.
MAHLENBROCK, DAVID PAUL
Posted: 10 December 2004 Updated: 11 December 2004 Updated: 13 December 2004 Updated: 14 December 2004 Updated: 16 February 2004 Updated: 6 January 2005 Updated: 21 August 2005