When people recalled David Edward Owens Jr. last night, they remembered him as a nice guy, a "good kid."
After graduating from James Wood High School in Winchester, Va., he joined the Marines.
And yesterday, the Pentagon announced that Lance Cpl. Owens was a casualty of the war in Iraq. The announcement said that Owens, 20, died of wounds received in action April 12 in central Iraq.
"He was proud to be a Marine," said one of his neighbors in the community where he grew up, near Route 50, a few miles west of downtown Winchester. He "had a lot of respect for everybody" and "was an all-around" good guy, the neighbor said.
Another neighbor, Jennifer Lynch, recalled Owens's civility and politeness as a teenager. He "always referred to me as Mrs. Lynch," she said, and with him it was always, "Yes, ma'am."
Her two sons "really liked David," she said.
Mark Weir, an assistant football coach at James Wood, called Owens "a real good kid."
Although not endowed with outstanding aptitude for football, Weir said, Owens "worked hard" and in his senior year "got some playing time" with the Colonels.
"He was also just a really nice kid," Weir said last night. "Just a really nice, everyday kid" who was enjoyable to be around, the coach said.
It was not unexpected for him to have gone into the military after graduation. James Wood Principal Lynn Amedy said that the school serves "a very patriotic community" and that its students are avidly recruited by all the armed services.
Owens "talked about joining the service when he was in high school," Weir said, and enlisted "right after he graduated."
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, which was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.