The first of three soldiers killed during an insider attack in Afghanistan has been laid to rest at Fort Campbell on Tuesday.
Sgt. Eric Houck, 25, of the 101st Airborne Division, was on of three Rakkasan soldiers who were killed June 10 in northeastern Afghanistan by an Afghan Police officer. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder, saying the police officer was a Taliban member who infiltrated the police force.
Sgt.William Bays, 29, of Barstow, Calif. and Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville, North Carolina were also killed during the attack in the Achin District of the Nangarhar Province.
Houck’s funeral’s attendees consisted of uniformed soldiers from his division, family members, veterans, officials and a celebrity who made a humble appearance.
Unlike many celebrities who align themselves with the military for positive publicity, Billy Ray Cyrus chose to attend the funeral and sing a somber song without any recognition.
“My heart just breaks. There’s no words to say how much I appreciate Sgt. Eric Houch, our soldier & their sacrifice,” he tweeted -not mentioning his presence.
If it wasn’t for a brief Twitter video, posted by a local reporter, his presence and somber acoustic rendition of “Some Gave All” would have gone unknown to those outside of the chapel on base.
— Jake Lowary (@JakeLowary) June 20, 2017
Houch’s wife, Samantha, spoke during the service, saying she was “crushed” and “broken-hearted; lost but mostly proud.”
“But we will find a way to get through this long, devastating journey without him,” she said, according to the Tennessean.
“I keep having reruns because he would always tell me, ‘You can’t help the inevitable. What’s going to happen will. You can’t change it you just have to move forward,'” she said.
Houck was a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Abn. Div. He was a fire support sergeant who joined the Army in May 2013 and arrived at Fort Campbell in March 2016.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and the Air Assault Badge. He posthumously earned the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and Army Commendation Medal with a second oak leaf cluster.
The deaths of the three soldiers are the first combat-related deaths in Afghanistan for the Fort Campbell based division since April 2015. The Rakkasans deployed in the fall of 2016 to Afghanistan.
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