COMBAT OUTPOST COUTU, Afghanistan --
Hunting, fishing, trucks, computer games, barbeque and movies like Cool Runnings are just a glimpse into the short but colorful life of Lance Cpl. Dakota R. Huse, a rifleman with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. His brothers in 2/9 remembered him for those things and more, Nov. 18, at Marine Corps Combat Outpost Coutu. Huse made the ultimate sacrifice Nov. 9, while conducting combat operations in Northern Marjah.
“Lance Cpl. Dakota Huse was the kind of Marine that made being a team leader a boring job,” said Cpl. Luke B. Visconti, a team leader for Fox, 2/9. “I never had to tell him to do something more than once, and if I had to correct him on something, I only had to tell him once. This went for anything. If I needed something done, I knew if I asked Huse, it would get taken care of. He was a great [squad automatic weapon] gunner and would have equally made a good team leader.”
Everyone looked to Huse when they were down, explained Visconti. He was the type of Marine who could take the worst circumstances and turn them into a comical situation.
Capt. Michael W. Manocchio, commanding officer for Fox Company, 2/9, talked about how Huse’s antics, which were often at his own expense.
“Although Dakota may not have been the next American Idol, he liked to sing in the [Combat Operations Center], even if it meant getting himself kicked out,” said Manocchio. “He was a standup guy who always looked out for his fellow Marines and did whatever he could to help others out. He did everything he could to ensure his fellow Marines were taken care of by sharing everything and anything with his brothers.”
Visconti chuckled as he remembered missions they went on and fun they had together.
“On patrols, he would always call things out so much that back inside the wire, I told him his new nickname was blat-man and that he had the power to state the blatantly obvious,” laughed Visconti. “Huse had a lot of nicknames in our squad. We would also call him doughnut because he always had fat snacks. Even when mail was slow he still managed to have a box of honey-buns. I still ask myself where he got that stuff from.”
Although Huse was known as a jokester, during the memorial service, his brothers-in-arms said he took his job very seriously and realized his mission here was no laughing matter.
“Lance Cpl. Huse always lived everyday to its fullest and made the most out of his time on earth,” Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood, the commanding officer for 2/9, said to the crowd. “In doing so, he gave 100 percent of himself to the mission at hand. Whether that mission was being a Marine, a SAW gunner or a friend; he never held back. He was always there in the front, pushing himself to get everything possible out of life.”
“Lance Cpl. Huse was a true professional who embraced being a Marine with every fiber of his being and lived each day in accordance with our Corps values,” said Fullwood. “That was the type of man that Dakota was and that was how he lived.”
As the ceremony drew to an end, 1st Sgt. Nicholas G. Fox, the Fox Company first sergeant, called roll. Replies of “present” could be heard over the steady morning breeze until Huse’s name was repeated several times with no response. A somber silence fell over the crowd.
“Honor the dead,” Fox commanded.
A single trumpet sounded Taps while Marines and sailors rendered a salute to their fallen brother.
Close by, a group of Marines raised their rifles and fired rounds into the sky, giving the fallen warrior a final and honorable farewell.
Huse is survived by his mother, Donna J. Huse. His awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.