Saturday, July 07, 2007

Derek Dixon laid to rest

RIVERSIDE — Marine Cpl. Derek C. Dixon was buried with full military honors Thursday, nine days after he was killed in Iraq.

The 20-year-old Riverside man was remembered for his strong sense of duty to serve his country during a funeral service at Agape Family Worship Center.

"The 'Star-Spangled Banner' will never sound the same," said Tom Trochelman, whom Dixon called his father.

Trochelman spokes to more than 100 people who gathered at the worship center before the funeral procession traveled 12 miles to Forest Hills Memorial Gardens in Tipp City. It passed Dixon's home on Carlton Avenue, where neighbors solemnly held American flags.

Dixon is the latest of 28 servicemen with Miami Valley ties who have died in the war.

The 2005 graduate of Mound Street Academies in Dayton was shot June 26 while he was working at a vehicle checkpoint in the city of Saqlawiyah in western Iraq. The round entered under his left arm above his armored vest and went into his chest, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

Dixon joined the Marines on July 9, 2004 and was trained as an information systems specialist.

Lt. Jeff Jenkins, a Navy chaplain, said Dixon had developed a reputation throughout the 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion based in Camp Lejeune, N.C. as "the one who could fix their computers."

With that job he wouldn't have been sent to Iraq, but he learned a second set of skills as a radio operator so that he could go, Jenkins said.

"Because of his commitment and patriotism, he volunteered to deploy," Jenkins said of the young man who told relatives when he was 16 that he wanted to join the Marine Corps.

Dixon was interested in law enforcement and as a teen was active in Five Rivers MetroParks/Riverside Police Explorers Post 763. FiverRivers Sgt. Pam Wightman choked back tears as she recalled Dixon's desire to serve.

"It's something we all kind of lose sight of when we're back home, but it's a reminder of how special these kids are, how big their hearts are and how determined they are to make a difference," she said.

From the Dayton Daily News

Related Link:
Derek C. Dixon dies 'while conducting combat operations'