By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; B04
David C. Lutes, who grew up in Maryland, was a husband and father who joined the Army to provide for his family.
And he had another reason, his wife Bobbi said Monday night: to "defend a country that he was proud of."
Spc. David C. Lutes, 28, of Frostburg, a member of the 101 st Airborne Division (Air Assault) died last week in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered when a roadside bomb was used to attack his unit in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday. His wife said he died Nov. 12.
"He was an amazing father and a wonderful husband," Bobbi Lutes said by telephone from Kentucky, where they lived while he was based at Fort Campbell. "We couldn't have asked for a better guy."
He had gone to elementary school in Westernport, in western Maryland's Allegany County, where his mother, Delia Ahern, still lives.
A schoolmate and friend, Becky Miller-Mosher, said he had attended middle school in Westernport, and Westmar High School in Lonaconing.
"He was very intelligent," she said. "He would help you with anything."
Youths growing up in Westernport at the time made the best of the relatively limited recreational opportunities there and seemed to share a special bond, Miller-Mosher said. It was "so extraordinary," but was not easy to define, she said.
What was clear, she added, was that it was good to have Lutes as a friend.
Norman J. Rankin, a former neighbor of Lutes's in Westernport, said he had envisioned a promising future for Lutes.
He "could have been a counselor" or a psychiatrist, Rankin said. Lutes was "someone you could talk to," who would not continually interrupt. He "was a good listener."
The two played video games together and shot baskets. Lutes was talented, and "full of life," with a good sense of humor, Rankin said. He liked music and could draw.
In addition to his wife and mother, survivors include two daughters, Kya M. and Kaitlyn E. Lutes. His wife said he also had two brothers and a sister.
According to a statement from Fort Campbell, Lutes joined the Army in January 2008. He was an infantryman in the 61st Cavalry Regiment of his division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.
The Pentagon said Lutes died after being fatally wounded Nov. 8 when the roadside bomb damaged his vehicle during a patrol in Nagarhar Province.
He was a hero, Miller-Mosher said.
"Somebody who gives his life just so somebody else can have a better life, to me is a hero," she said.