Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Blake H Howey

Glendora, California

February 18, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Marine L/Cpl

2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Twentynine Palms, California

 Killed while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

From San Gabriel, CA sgvtribune.com :

Blake Howey: Second Glendoran dies in Iraq
By Alison Hewitt Staff Writer

GLENDORA - Marine Pfc. Blake Howey of Glendora died in Iraq on Sunday at age 20, becoming the second person from Glendora to be killed in Iraq.

Howey was only a few weeks into his first deployment when his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, said family friend Karen Butterfield. Howey's family asked her to speak for them after they were notified of his death Monday.

"They're just not ready to talk yet," she said. "Even for me it's like losing a family member. It's awful."

Howey is survived by his parents, stepfather and younger half-sister.

He and several close friends joined the Marines directly out of high school, Butterfield said. He followed Butterfield's younger brother, Marine Cpl. James Eckels, from Glendora High School to Whitcomb High School so they could graduate early together and join the Marines as soon as possible. Eckels graduated early, and Howey and a few other friends soon joined him after a June graduation.

"They were a good group of kids," recalled Whitcomb Principal Marc DuBois. "Howey was the quiet one in that group that was going into the service. This guy was great - and funny, too."

He was never in trouble and made the honor roll as well,

DuBois said. His former science teacher, Tom Paegel, said Howey was an extremely determined student. Whitcomb will post a tribute to him on the school's marquee, Paegel said.

The city is also working to arrange a small ceremony in Howey's honor, said Councilwoman Karen Davis.

An impromptu memorial to the Marine has already appeared beneath his banner north of the Grand Avenue and Foothill Boulevard intersection, Butterfield said.

Because of Howey's friendship with her brother, Butterfield said Howey was like another little brother to her.

"He was kind of quiet, kind of shy, always a real sweet kid," she said. "He loved paintball and snowboarding."

Eckels and Howey's other friends were practically adopted by Howey's mom, Audrey Nichka, Butterfield said.

"She's an amazing lady," Butterfield said. "She calls them all her sons, and they call her mom.

"The biggest thing she wants now is to have the other boys come home," she continued. "It's scary, knowing that my brother's still over there."

The Department of Defense had not yet confirmed Howey's death late Tuesday, but Butterfield said the explosive killed Howey while he was traveling in a Humvee from Fallujah to Baghdad.

Nichka plans to have a memorial service for her son Sunday or Monday at Oakdale Cemetery in Glendora. She is setting up a fund in Howey's honor to send helmets, flak jackets and other necessities to soldiers in Iraq. "Her boys have helmets and flack jackets, but there's things they don't have, like magazines for their guns or cold weather gear, and we've sent that stuff," Butterfield said.

"To know that someone can just be taken - Howey wasn't even in combat - it's crazy," she said. "I wouldn't take a bit of support away from my brother, but I wish they gave them all the things that they need." 

From San Gabriel, CA sgvtribune.com 02/24/07:

Blake Howey: Vigil honors local Marine

Friends and family of Marine Lance Cpl. Blake Howey gathered in Finkbiner Park in Glendora on Saturday for a candlelight vigil in his memory.

Howey died Feb. 18 in Iraq after his convoy crossed a booby-trapped bridge in Fallujah. He was 20 years old, and the second person from Glendora to die in Iraq.

Howey's friend Lacey Webb, who said she and the Marine had been "inseparable," organized the event to encourage community members to share photos and stories of the Glendora resident.

City officials also planned to hold a small ceremony for Howey on Saturday afternoon in front of City Hall.

Funeral services for Howey will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Glenkirk Church, 1700 Palopinto Ave., Glendora. The services will be open to the public. 

From San Gabriel, CA sgvtribune.com :

Blake Howey: Funeral held for Marine
By Jennifer McLain Staff Writer

GLENDORA - Before Blake Howey enlisted in the Marines at age 18, family and friends tried to talk him out of it.

After all, this was the same "crazy" teenager who loved to eat at In-N-Out Burger, who encouraged his grandmother to chug a beer and who started mosh pits during a church youth group, they said.

But Howey was also devoted to protecting his loved ones, and welcomed the responsibility, maturity and pride that could come with joining the Marines.

"Everyone tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined," said David Turner, Howey's youth pastor. "He loved his country."

But on Feb. 18, Marine Lance Cpl. Howey, 20, was killed after his convoy was hit with a roadside explosive in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

Hundreds of relatives, friends and military service personnel attended Howey's funeral on Wednesday, celebrating his life, at Glenkirk Church in Glendora.

"We honor him as a man of courage, dignity, and as one who gave himself for others," Turner said.

Howey, who was born in San Dimas and raised in Glendora, was only a few weeks into his first deployment in Iraq when his convoy was hit.

The explosive killed Howey as he was traveling in a Humvee from Fallujah to Baghdad.

"No matter you're political views of the war, remember, they're out there to protect us," said longtime family friend Samuel Duran.

Howey became the second serviceman from Glendora to be killed in the Iraq war. As of Feb. 28, 3,158 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.

Howey was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, which is based in Twentynine Palms.

Family members remembered a Howey as a man who loved to snowboard and to tease his 7-year-old sister.

They also remembered a man who was devoted to his family, friends and his faith.

"He will always be his mother's guardian angel," said his grandmother, Arlinda Argeris. "There are no words that describe the loss we had."

Howey is also survived by his mother, Audrey Nichka; his stepfather, Ron Nichka; his sister, Taylor Nichka, 7; and his father, Greg Howey.

Turner said when he spoke to Howey about the future, he could see excitement in Blake's eyes.

"It's not right when someone so young dies, but he lived life," Turner said at Wednesday's memorial services. "He lived life with purpose." 

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