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LCpl Abram LaRue Howard

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LCpl Abram LaRue Howard

  • Birth 15 Jun 1989
  • Death 27 Jul 2010
  • Burial Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Memorial ID 55584781


Soldier's name to go on bridge

October 27, 2012

By MIKE REUTHER - mreuther@sungazette.com , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

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Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law this week a bill that will rename the DuBoistown Bridge after a local combat veteran killed in the line of duty.

A ceremony is to be held next month to officially rename the bridge after

Lance Cpl. Abram Howard, 21, a city resident who died from injuries suffered in an ambush while on patrol in Afghanistan in July 2010.

The legislation was part of an omnibus bill renaming a number of other bridges and roads in the state.

It first was introduced in the House by state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, and supported by other House members, including state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy.

The bill later was sent to the Senate and most recently came back to the House as an amendment by state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township.

Driver's license

Up until now, the state Department of Transportation did not affix a special designation to driver's licenses or identification cards indicating veteran status.

New name added to the honor roll at veterans memorial
May 29, 2011
By DAVID THOMPSON - dthompson@sungazette.com , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
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The monuments at the Lycoming County Veterans Memorial Park on West Fourth Street bore the names of 652 county men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation's freedom from World War I to the present war on terror.

On Saturday, Bart and Connie Howard were on hand to see their son, Abram L. Howard, a Marine lance corporal who was killed in Afghanistan on July 27, added to that roll of honor.

Howard's name was unveiled during the Lycoming County Veterans Council Inc.'s 19th annual Memorial Day service at the park. He joins three other county soldiers whose names are inscribed on a satellite monument associated with a larger Global Conflicts for Peace and Freedom monument at the park.

They are Army SSG Joseph E. Suponcic, who died on Dec. 15, 1999, in Kosovo, Army Sgt. John L. Eichenlaub, who was died on March 11, 2003, in Afghanistan, and Army MSG Sean M. Thomas, who died on March 27, 2007, in Iraq.

On hand for the ceremony were about a dozen motorcycle riders from the Jersey Shore American Legion Post 36 Legion Riders, a group involved with local charity projects and rides to honor veterans and fallen soldiers.

"We're here to support a fallen soldier who is close to our heart," said Art Good, president of the group. "We're here for Abe, his family and all fallen soldiers."

According to Good, the group helped escort Howard's body home. Bart Howard later joined the group and has been a supporter of its endeavors, he said.

"Our vice president wanted to dedicate our spring ride to Abe," he said. "Bart was more than willing to support us. He joined our legion and joined our rides."

Following the ceremony, Connie Howard could only say she was "overwhelmed" to see her son's name for the first time on the monument.

Jess P. Hackenburg II, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Commission, which oversees the park, paid homage to Howard by reading comments sent to his parents by fellow Marines in the days immediately following his death.

A captain in Howard's unit described him as a brave and professional Marine who was mature beyond his years.

An enlisted Marine said no one could ask for a better Marine, friend or brother to serve with than Howard. He was a person who could be counted on at any time.

Howard was extremely proud that his father and grandfather also served in the Marine Corps and believed he was not just serving his country, but continuing a family legacy, he said.

It is important to remember Howard and the other men and women honored on the monuments as more than names etched in stone, said keynote speaker Lt. Col. Phillip L. Resseguie, U.S. Air Force, retired.

"At a minimum, we must make these names more than letters on a monument," Resseguie said. "It is our solemn responsibility to remember them and give thanks that when their nation called, they answered with their lives."

Resseguie said he was surprised to be invited to speak at the ceremony. Born in Lewisburg and raised in Millville, he spent most of his military career working in finance. His war stories involved fighting antiquated military accounting systems and red tape, he said.

Resseguie said today's media focuses on flashy stories about pilots, Navy SEAL teams, Special Operations units and generals running the war. Those are people most often thought of as heroes, he said.

In reality, all service men and women are heroes, he said.

"When I read or hear such stories, I often think about the men and women in the support functions such as maintenance, security, medical, intel, base supply and finance that provided assets or training to enable that war fighter to accomplish his mission," he said. "It is important to remember that these support personnel often deploy in advance of, or at the same time as the war fighter."

"As a result, everyone, regardless of rank, title or job description, is potentially in harm's way," he said.

Resseguie talked about growing up hearing stories from a neighbor who served during World War I. His mother and father each lost a brother during World War II. An uncle was killed in Korea and a cousin died when his transport plane crashed in Vietnam.

"The memories of these brave men, and the void that was left, were often shared at family gatherings," he said. "As a kid who spent a lot of time playing Army with my brothers and cousins, these fallen soldiers were all heroes to me, regardless of their job."

Resseguie said when he was invited to speak, the first thing he did was come to Williamsport to visit the park.

Impressed, he decided to learn more about the men and women whose names are inscribed on the monuments there. It is their stories that are truly impressive beyond any monument that honors them, he said.

As in past services at the park, a wreath was placed in front of each monument.

Navy submariner William H. Reasner Jr. place a wreath at the Wahoo Memorial, which pays tribute to three local residents who died on submarines during World War II. They are Robert B. Logue, who served aboard the USS Wahoo, David K. Sloan Jr., who served on the USS Corvina, and Edward J. Szendrey, who served on the USS Seawolf.

Martin J. Payne, an Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam War, place a wreath at the World War I monument, which bears the names of 131 county residents.

Navy veteran George Hurne, who served during World War II, placed a wreath on the World War II monument, which bears the names of 415 county residents.

Gary Jenney Sr., a Marine and Vietnam War veteran, placed a wreath at the Vietnam War monument, which bears the names of 43 county residents. Jenney was assisted by Kyra English, a private first class with the Clinton-Lycoming Young Marines.

Navy veteran Donald E. Merrill placed a wreath at the memorial's M60 tank display, which honors military veterans who have returned safely home, according to Hackenburg.

Finally, Marine Charles E. Smith, accompanied by Bart Howard, placed a wreath at the Global Conflicts for Peace and Freedom monument.

According to Hackenburg, up to five names will be inscribed on monument's satellite monument. As each satellite monument is filled with names, a new one will be erected, he said.

"Most on the (park) commission would prefer we never put another name on them," he said.

Also speaking during the event were city Mayor Gabriel Campana and state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport.

Campana called the memorial park "a truly holy place ... where we can continue to recognize and remember all who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us."

Mirabito presented Hackenburg and the commission with a House citation honoring the commission's work in honoring the county's fallen soldiers.

Memorial weekend activity set
May 26, 2011
By MARK MARONEY mmaroney@sungazette.com , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
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A local fallen Marine, Lance Cpl. Abram Howard, will be remembered during the countywide Memorial Day service at 2 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park.

It is but one of numerous events planned in the region for the long Memorial Day weekend.

Howard's name is the fourth to be added to the global conflicts memorial at the park at Wahoo Drive and West Fourth Street. The 2007 Williamsport Area High School graduate was killed last summer by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

His parents, Connie and Bart Howard, are to lay a wreath at the stone monument in their son's honor, according to Jess P. Hackenburg II, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Commission. The couple was invited to participate by the Lycoming County Veterans Council Inc. and commission, Hackenburg said.

Old Lycoming supervisors honor fallen hero
October 13, 2010 - By DAVID THOMPSON
Old Lycoming Township supervisors Tuesday honored Marine Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard during a brief ceremony attended by Howard's parents Bart and Connie.

Supervisor John Eck read a citation to the couple and told them the supervisors were planning a more permanent memorial for their son, who was killed during an insurgent attack on July 27 in Afghanistan.

"(Honoring Howard) has been on the minds of the supervisors for the last six weeks," Eck said.

The Howards thanked the supervisors and hugged them and several township employees.

According to Eck, there are plans to plant a tree in the township park in memory of Howard.


"Community rallies around family to preserve peace"
By PATRICK DONLIN August 7, 2010

Rumbling with sounds of thunder Friday, motorcycle-riding patriots preceded a procession for fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard at St. Joseph the Worker Parish.

More than 80 members of the Patriot Guard Riders dismounted their motorcycles to line West Fourth Street with a patriotic showing of American flags.

When Howard's funeral motorcade arrived, complete with family, friends, military veterans and the hearse transporting his body, all was calm as the caravan rounded Walnut Street to the church.

"Everyone has gone out of their way to make sure this young man has a peaceful journey to his final resting spot," said Mickey Finn, of Williamsport, senior ride captain of the local Patriot Guard Riders region.

He said fellow members of his organization, the vast majority of them veterans, were visiting from near and far.

"The mission today is to render honor and respect for this soldier and his family," Finn said.

Patriot Guard members stood in orderly formation outside the church, as they heard of a possibility that people known to protest military funerals might show up.

No disruptions were heard at the church, where the guards stood in quiet reverence as their dismounted motorcycles were parked nearby.

They were ready for the worst, though.

"We are prepared to form a human shield with our bodies and our flags," Finn said.

He was pleased to see what he considers a strong turn-out of area residents lining the streets nearby.

"Williamsport should be proud of itself," Finn said.

Standing outside the church in silent vigil was Dawn Pletcher, of Wellsboro, who said she's done the same for five other soldiers from Lycoming and Tioga counties killed in action the past five years.

"I think it's the least I can do to pay respect for servicemen who gave their life for my freedom, and to let their family members know there are people who care," Pletcher said.

Melissa Mitteer-Bradley, of South Williamsport, was grateful the motorcycle guard was there to preserve the sanctity of support she bestowed upon Howard.

"I'm here to show my support to the family and respect for the soldier. He gave everything up for us," Mitteer-Bradley said.

Richard Place, a ride captain with the Harrisburg area region of the Patriot Guard, was pleased the day stayed quiet.

"Nobody should be able to take opposition of an agenda during a bereavement," Place said.
Marine offered last full measure of devotion at memorial service
By MARK MARONEY - mmaroney@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 7, 2010 "Marine offered last full measure of devotion at memorial service"

CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR./Sun-Gazette
Family and friends of Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard look on as the flag that draped his coffin is folded by a Marine Honor Guard Friday afternoon during his burial at Wildwood Cemetery.
Before he died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, Marine Lance Cpl. Abram LaRue Howard was known as a teacher and mentor to strangers in an unfamiliar and wild land.

The 21-year-old local hero, buried Friday after perishing in an insurgent attack July 27, helped more than 300 Afghanistan police forces to defend their country.

He also protected his comrade-in-arms, be they Afghanis or NATO troops, in Helmand Province.

"He was a hero," said Marine Maj. Gen. Tracy L. Garrett, commanding general of the 4th Marine Logistics Group.

She spoke of Howard's dedication to duty at his funeral at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Parish, 702 W. Fourth St.

Marine Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Dunford Jr. wrote a letter presenting Howard with the Purple Heart.

He was trained as a combat lifesaver, which exceeded the basic level of first aid provider, Garrett said.

"His gift was to serve and to continue a tradition of duty to the Marine Corps and country that he learned from his family," she said.

Although he died in a far away place in a "gruesome attack," she said, he didn't die in vain.

"It may seem senseless to some," she said. "I don't feel that way ... on behalf of the Marines past and present - Semper Fidelis," which is Latin for always faithful.

Father Shane Kirby said as a Christian he would be reunited with his Marines and family some day.

Several dozen Marines said the services touched them.

"The bond is so much greater with a war going on," said Sgt. Maj. Paul Hayes of the Reserve Affairs headquarters.

A Marine explained why he attended the funeral.

"I am here to pay my respects," said Lance Cpl. Josh Matthews, of Irwin, near Pittsburgh.

At the funeral, Kirby compared what Howard did to that of Jesus Christ.

Kirby's made references to how Christ also laid down his life for mankind.

"Don't think it is strange that the 'Prince of Peace' is compared to a fighting man," Kirby said.

He died on behalf of the souls of men and women and His weapon, Kirby said, was love. So, too, did Howard love others and lay down his life, the pastor said.

In fact, "on July 27, Howard offered his last full measure of devotion'," Kirby said. "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." Howard and others in the military are defending freedom, protecting liberties and ensuring justice prevail.

"Abe" was a mischievous prankster, his uncle Joe Dincher said in a letter read at the funeral. He also was a talented musician and writer and a beloved son, grandson and nephew.

Such devotion was returned in the shadow of a giant flag - which flies at Pennsylvania College of Technology most days - blowing in the breeze at the cemetery held there by Allison Crane and Rigging. In a final expression of their love, Howard's father, Bart, stood up from his chair at Wildwood Cemetery, looked down at his son and saluted. His mom, Constance, teared up as she was handed a flag folded 13 times by Marines in the detachment.

More than 5,000 attend viewing for fallen Marine
By MARK MARONEY mmaroney@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 6, 2010 "More than 5,000 attend viewing for fallen Marine"

Visitors line the aisles of the Williamsport Area Area High School auditorium as they wait to pay their respects to the family of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard, who was killed in Afghanistan July 27.
Every kind of picture and piece of memorabilia imaginable was displayed on tables inside the Williamsport Area High School auditorium Thursday for the viewing of a Marine cut down in the prime of his life while serving in Afghanistan last month.

Thousands of mourners - estimated at 5,000 - paid their respects between 3 and 8 p.m.

They came on behalf of 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Abram LaRue Howard, of Old Lycoming Township, who lost his life while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom July 27.

Howard was in his dress blues in a casket on the center stage. A circular Marine Corps emblem was embroidered on the casket lid. Surrounding it were roses and white lilies on pedestals.

Many who came knelt beside him, spending a moment of silence. They also reached out to his parents and relatives who stood by.

Bart and Connie Howard, his father and mother, and other relatives, including his brother, Alex, and sister, Olivia, greeted everyone who approached, while Marines stood silently on either side.

"Peace be with you," Bart Howard said to one of those who joined the family on stage.

His uncles and aunts and other relatives gave the greeters hugs and backslaps.

"I would have stood for 10 hours," said Steve Berger, who was with his wife, Elaine, and their sons.

Berger said he was one of Howard's Cub Scout leaders.

He recalled Cub Scout meetings with his Pack at St. John's United Methodist Church.

As if it were yesterday, he spoke about Howard building a car that shot down the chute to compete in a Pinewood Derby.

Standing behind him were lines of men, women and children in the hallways leading into the auditorium entrances, many wearing blue and tan rubber arm and leg bands in Howard's memory.

"He had a tremendous respect for authority," said Tony Lorson, his middle school wrestling coach. Lorson and other coaches, such as Randy Laird, who taught Howard algebra and was a middle school football coach, presented a football to the family.

The ball, from 2002, had Howard's middle school number 92 on it. When he was in high school, he wore number 50. The Cherry and White Millionaire shirts with number 50 were on display.

"They're a close-knit family," said family friend Heather Hilner, in an earlier interview.

Marines, some of whom served with him, stood at attention.

While visitors viewed displays of pictures, a drop-down large screen projected a tribute video.

It depicted Howard with his Marine comrades, glimpses of him giving a thumbs up, standing in the snow in swim trunks, getting smooches from adoring females, swigging a beer and doing what Marines do - entering combat zones in the name of freedom.

Musical selections - chosen by his parents and brother - filled the auditorium. Songs such as "Ain't that America," by John Mellencamp, to "Act Naturally," performed by Buck Owens, among other recording artists, played.

Bart Howard is quite the guitarist and musician, Sanders Mortuary funeral director William Kieser said.

He can play or perform any one of these songs that are heard this afternoon, Kieser added.

The fallen Marine also played guitar, an instrument on display near one of the auditorium aisles.

"I played in the orchestra with him," Stephanie Stevens, 22, said in an earlier interview Wednesday.

He played bass, she said. "He always made the whole orchestra laugh," she added of his sense of humor.

"I taught his father," Linda Hawkins said during the earlier motorcade procession into the city.

The outpouring of appreciation for his service and love to the family in its time of sorrow included many in the police and law enforcement community, firefighters and emergency management, county, state personnel and longtime friends and co-workers.

High-ranking military personnel are expected at the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. today at St. Joseph the Worker (Church of Annunciation), 702 W. Fourth St., Kieser said.

Grieving Marines send flowers as expression
By SHAWNA T. TURNER sturner@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 6, 2010 "Grieving Marines send flowers as expression"
Soldiers who served with Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard in Afghanistan had a special arrangement made by Nevill's Flowers for the viewing.

Fact Box
IF YOU GO

WHAT: Mass of Christian Burial for Lance Cpl. Abram LaRue Howard

WHEN: 11 a.m. today

WHERE: St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Church of the Annunciation, 702 W. Fourth St. Burial to follow in Wildwood Cemetery.
An entire community is grieving the loss of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard. The loss isn't just local - the friends Howard left behind in Afghanistan also are feeling the emotional sting of his death.

Last week, Rosemary Holmes, owner of Nevill's Flowers in Montoursville, received a call from Afghanistan. Members of Howard's troop left behind in action wanted to send flowers to honor their fallen friend, according to Holmes.

Because the phone conversation was so broken, Cpl. Andrew J. Gales e-mailed Holmes several times to set up the arrangement, she said.

They communicated about five or six times until the Marines were able to come up with an arrangement they all agreed upon, according to Holmes.

"Initially, they wanted to provide the casket spray for the family as an expression of their sympathy. I spoke with Bill Kaiser of Sanders (Mortuary) and he said that the family definitely wanted to provide those flowers. They decided as a group to do an easel spray," Holmes said.

The troop requested a yellow ribbon with the words "your brother in Marjeh." On the card, the troop put their names on it in order of those who were closest to Howard since the beginning of his deployment, according to Holmes.

"There is so much honoring him here. But, his buddies that are over there still are mourning his loss," Holmes said.

This isn't something that could have happened 30 years ago, she said, recalling years back when her husband was in Vietnam and it would take 10 days to a week to receive a letter from him.

Communication and technological advances over the years help those on duty keep in touch. Years ago, friends left behind never would have had the chance to honor their fallen friend in such a way, Holmes said.

Procession marked by tears
By SHAWNA T. TURNER sturner@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 5, 2010 : "Procession marked by tears"

It was a teary homecoming for many who lined the streets downtown Wednesday to pay homage to fallen Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard as a motorcade escorted his body home.

News of Howard's death on July 27 brought the fighting in Afghanistan to local doorsteps.

Janet Bubb attended the motorcade and barely held back the tears as she remembered the young man who lived on her street.

Bubb was pleased to see those who came out to honor Howard.

"I came out as a concerned citizen for one of our own here in Williamsport. It is very sad. You always hear it someplace else. It leaves an impact when it is one of our own," Ann Hearton said.

Stiles Miller, of Williamsport, was a sergeant in the Army.

"I am an ex-military person myself and I have feelings for the people who are in battle today. When I heard the news of his passing, I felt sorry and sad," Miller said. "The military is important because there have been fighting and wars ever since we became a nation and it continues today."

Diane Miller, of South Williamsport, felt bad for Howard's family the moment she heard the news.

"I came out to show my respect. That young man went over there and died for my freedom. I feel I should show my respect for him and his family," she said. "When I heard the news, I was sad. I felt bad for his family, even though I don't know them. I know, if it was a son of mine, how I would feel."

Karen Schramm, of Loyalsock Township, and Karen Haywood, of Williamsport, showed their support.

"I want to show respect to the Howard family. I feel very bad for them. I just feel so bad for his family and my heart goes out to them. I was very sad and wanted to cry when I heard about his (Howard's) death. It breaks your heart," Schramm said.

"I am here to support the family because I think it is important that people come out and support our (hometown heroes)," Haywood said. "He was so young, over there supporting us. He was fighting for us at such a young age."
Solemn motorcade returns fallen local Marine to the city
By MARK MARONEY mmaroney@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 5, 2010 "Solemn motorcade returns fallen local Marine to the city"

Friends, family and law enforcement personnel watch Wednesday as the body of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard is removed from the hearse that carried his remains past his home to Sanders Mortuary in Newberry. Howard was killed July 27, while fighting in Afghanistan.

Fact Box
IF YOU GO

WHAT: Visitation for Lance Cpl. Abram LaRue Howard

WHEN: 3 to 8 p.m. today

WHERE: Williamsport Area High School auditorium, 2990 W. Fourth St.

WHAT: Mass of Christian Burial

WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday

WHERE: St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Church of the Annunciation, 702 W. Fourth St. Burial to follow in Wildwood Cemetery.
Literally thousands of mourners and saddened patriots lined city streets and stood above bridge overpasses Wednesday to watch a motorcade of motorcyclists and vehicles bring home a fallen Marine from Old Lycoming Township who was killed in action late last month.

The caravan brought Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard on his final journey back to the place of his birth, arriving at Sanders Mortuary, 812 Diamond St., about 2 p.m.

There was no shortage of people to honor him along the 80-mile trek from Avoca to the city's Newberry section.

Howard's body was returned in dignified fashion, in a procession that ended at the funeral home after taking a slightly circuitous route that took the hearse past Howard's Round Hill Road home in the township.

The outpouring of support seemed to be overwhelming to those in the motorcade.

"This has restored my faith," said Vietnam War veteran Mike Vogt, a spokesman for the Patriot Guard Riders. About 130 members of motorcycle clubs and veterans support groups and law enforcement personnel from Lycoming County formed a motorcade for Howard and his family.

The 21-year-old, who was killed in action on July 27 in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan, deserved the respect shown by the community, he said.

From the time Howard's body arrived at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Williamsport, nearly every township, borough, bridge overpass along the way was packed with people, Vogt said.

Some close relatives and Patriot Guard riders were permitted onto the tarmac in Avoca, Vogt said.

The motorcade traveled south on Interstate 81, to Route 309 across the smaller cities around Wilkes-Barre and into the Luzerne County suburbs.

"It really picked up with people at Dallas," Vogt said.

Along Route 118, dozens of people walked out to the berm of the road, holding flags and saluting the hearse and the Marines, police escorting him and the law enforcement community.

As the caravan rode into Hughesville, the sidewalks filled with people, Vogt said. All along Route 220 en route to Interstate 180, cars and trucks pulled alongside the highway and parked, and flags waved as the procession passed by.

A state police helicopter flew above. City streets from Market to Fourth Street were packed, Vogt said.

As the motorcade crossed the Fourth Street bridge from Memorial Park, which was lined with flags stuck in the grass, the lineup was met with hundreds gathered at the corner of Arch and Fourth streets and at Diamond and Fourth streets in the Newberry section of the city.

After the cyclists parked, all were silent as Howard's flag-draped coffin was carried by Marines into the funeral home.

Howard's arrival in Lycoming County was anticipated by thousands, many of whom stood for several hours waiting for the motorcade to arrive. Some shielded themselves under umbrellas and drank water and iced tea to cool off.

Most held small and large American flags in their hands and stood beside flags stuck into the grass.

The trip home was believed to be the start of the healing process for his parents, who rode in the motorcycle motorcade, but the honor and respect shown to the fallen Marine began as his body arrived at Dover Air Force Base, according to Rita Dincher, Howard's aunt.

President Barack Obama's administration had a facility built especially for grieving families of military personnel killed serving their country, and a Navy admiral met with each of the grieving family members, she said.

She said his mother, Connie, and father, Bart, are touched by the outpouring of love and support they have received since learning of their son's death.

"I'm here to pay my respects," said 83-year-old former Marine John "Dick" Gale, of Ocala, Fla. He served in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. He sat at the corner of Fourth and Arch streets.

Another grieving woman along the sidewalk, a city resident, said her 18-year-old grandson, a senior at Hughesville High School, signed up for the Marines and wants to be a sniper. She declined to provide her identity.

"Our prayers as a community go to him and his family," said the woman, a member of Newberry Church of Christ. "We're praying hard for their family so they may have the courage to get through this difficult time."

"It is our duty to be here," said another woman who did not wish to be identified. The woman held out a large American flag.

Dawn Pletcher, of Wellsboro in Tioga County, came to offer her encouragement to the family. Pletcher is in charge of a group known as Goodies for Our Troops. The organization has sent care packages overseas since the start of the American involvement in the wars in the Middle East following Sept. 11, 2001.

She recently attended the funeral for another Marine, Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank, of Elkland, and it is so sad to go through yet another loss from the area, she said.

Officials planning today's public viewing at the Williamsport Area High School auditorium from 3 to 8 p.m. are requesting all of those visiting use the Fourth Street entrance and leave via the Fox Hollow Road exit, according to city police.

The funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 702 W. Fourth St. An overflow facility will stream the funeral live in the parish hall.
Fallen Marine returns to place of his birth
By MARK MARONEY mmaroney@sungazette.com
POSTED: August 4, 2010 "Fallen Marine returns to place of his birth"

Shown here (in dashes) is the route the motorcade will take to return the body of Lance Cpl. Abram Howard to Williamsport from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport today. After entering the city via the Market Street Bridge, the motorcade will travel west down West Fourth?Street through Newberry and circle up and around by the Marine's home at 1 Round Hill Road before being taken to Sanders Mortuary, 821?Diamond St.
Over the next 48 hours expect the rumble of motorcycles, many driven by veterans of war - including the Vietnam War - and the solemn and gentle waving of American flags, crisp salutes and tears of many.

The body of Marine Lance Cpl. Abram L. Howard, 21, of 1 Round Hill Road in Old Lycoming Township, returns today to the place of his birth. Howard was killed in action July 27 in Afghanistan.

Plans are in place to bring him home via a motorcade of 100 or more motorcyclists and vehicles.

It is in preparation for his public viewing from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Williamsport Area High School auditorium and funeral at 11 a.m. at the St. Joseph the Worker Parish (Church of the Annunciation), 702 W. Fourth St.

Officials expect the turnout to be heavy, as homage is paid by those riding in the motorcade and hundreds of people expected to line the streets of the 80-mile procession.

"We want to bring home one of our guys," city police Cpl. Gary Whiteman said. "The route was arranged in the city so that he could see his home."

The route includes a sentimental but purposefully diversionary turn from Lacomic Street to Ridge Street and from Ridge Street to Round Hill Road, where the Marine lived.

Police are playing a supportive role to the Marines who will escort Howard's body, stand guard through the viewing and deliver full military honors at the funeral.

"We're supporting what the Marine Corps does and we don't want to impact what the Marine Corps does," Whiteman said. "The Corps takes care of its own."

Veterans groups and others alike say they are going to drive the entire 160-mile round trip.

After departing on a flight from Dover Air Force Base, Del., the airplane is expected to land at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport about 11 a.m. today.

The motorcade, to include Patriot Guard Riders and others from the region, will already have left from Old Lycoming Township Fire Co. early this morning to meet up with his family at Wyoming, Pa., and then escort them to the airport at Avoca and then back to Williamsport.

"We're honored to have been invited by the family to provide escort from the airport to the city and to set a flag line up," said Mickey Finn, a senior ride captain with the Patriot Guard Riders local District 3, a group with a national membership of 198,000 that attends funerals at the request of the family of military service members. The group is set aside geographically and numbered in the same districts as that of the state Department of Transportation.

"It is not about us. It is about a fallen Marine and his family," said Finn, a veteran of the Vietnam War who spent eight years in the Air Force and 10 years with the state police.

Patriot Guard Riders are to be joined by several other motorcycle groups.

It is anticipated more than 100 riders will take part in the motorcade.

"Some of the members of Howard's family ride motorcycles and they are going to ride in front of the hearse," Finn said.

Long, winding route

From the airport, the motorcade will follow Interstate 81 south to Route 309 through the Wilkes-Barre metro areas along the busy highway in Luzerne County. It will travel west on Route 118 and enter Columbia and Lycoming counties, passing by the small village of Red Rock and the boroughs of Lairdsville and Hughesville. There it will pick up Route 220 and Interstate 180. Getting off the beltway at Market Street, the procession turns onto West Fourth Street, then weaves through the Newberry area and onto Round Hill Road before ending at Sanders?Mortuary, 821 Diamond St.

The Patriot Guard Riders are doing double duty this week as the group was asked by family of Army Spc. Terry Lee Ryan II, of Watsontown, to attend memorial services for Ryan who died while on duty at Fort Carson, Colo., Finn said. Staging area is at 10 a.m. this morning at the Watsontown Elementary School, and the escort will be to Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery at Montgomery, about 12 miles west.

"We're going to get as many riders as we can to both of these services," Finn said.

Escort 'a true honor'

"It's a true honor to escort a fallen hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, but when the family asks if they may ride as a part of our group, that honor cannot be measured," said Mike Vogt, another Patriot Guard Rider ride captain who hails from the Wilkes-Barre area.

He anticipates group members from as far away as Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Allentown.

"Our procession has been cleared through security," Vogt said. Some guests will be allowed onto the tarmac to render honors for the transfer of Howard to the hearse for the trip to Williamsport, he said.

"It's a dignified transfer," he said. The escort is prepared to take the 80-mile one-way trip to Williamsport with no fuel stops.

Several city police officers are going to the airport and will join the escort, he said.

Among the four officers, three are former Marines: Sgt. John McKenna, and Officers Jimmie Rogers and Mark Lindauer. Officer Benjamin Laurenson is a first sergeant in the Army Reserves and also is going. The officers say they will be met by the state police from Pittsburgh barracks, several of whom served in Howard's Marine battalion.

Old Lycoming Township and South Williamsport police also are sending representatives as is the Lycoming County Sheriff's Office and state police. Blue Star Moms from Elkand in Tioga County are planning to offer their support and some are planning to attend events, Vogt said.

Guardian Angels

Once Howard's body arrives at Sanders Mortuary there is no public event until the viewing at the auditorium.

Three Marines Corps Guardian Angels will remain with Howard until he departs for his visitation at the Williamsport Area High School, according to Sanders.

The military honor guard will be provided by the Marine Corps. Visitors may enter the auditorium at the B lot and mail loop on lot A.

Staging for the Patriot Guard Riders for the viewing is at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Roosevelt Middle School.

Public access to the viewing will be by the West Fourth Street entrance only and exit will be on Fox Hollow Road only, Kontz said.

Shuttle busses

A shuttle bus with River Valley Transit is being arranged and officials believe enough parking is available in the various lots at the high school campus. The shuttle bus will transfer people between Roosevelt Middle School and the auditorium.

Handicapped and elderly individuals will be given assistance to the bus loop outside the high school for easier access to the auditorium, Kontz said.

Officers from the state police, Old Lycoming Township and sheriff departments are handling traffic and crowd control.

The staging area for the Patriot Guard Riders and others for the funeral is at 10 a.m. Friday at the Brandon Park bandshell.

The city is closing West Fourth Street from Locust to Campbell Street hours before the Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Friday. The Rev. Shane L. Kirby is officiating. "No parking" signs also are going up so there are no problems for businesses, customers or residents, Kontz said.

Street to be closed

West Fourth Street will be closed to traffic between Locust Street and Mifflin Place from 10 a.m. until the end of the service. Overflow parking will be available at Weis Markets, Third and Walnut streets; Roundhouse Field, Walnut Street off Little League Boulevard; Shiloh Baptist Church, off West Edwin Street; Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, enter by Campbell Street; the YWCA, rear lot; Park Home, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

The funeral procession will go from West Fourth to Campbell Street, then High Street, west to Cemetery Road and north to Wildwood Cemetery.

Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to line the procession route with American flags for the motorcade, visitation and burial.

City police Capt. Raymond O. Kontz III said city police will manage traffic and peripheral issues that may arise so the family is made to feel as comfortable as possible.

"We want to lighten their load they bear because they already have enough burden bringing home their son and loved one," Kontz said.

Gov. Ed Rendell has ordered U.S. and state flags at the Capitol and throughout Lycoming County to be flown at half staff in Howard's honor this week.

Marine reservist dies in combat

By MARK MARONEY mmaroney@sungazette.com
POSTED: July 29, 2010 "A dark day"

Lance Cpl. Abram Howard, pictured in a Hometown Heroes banner on West Third Street, was scheduled to return home from Afghanistan in only a few weeks. However, the 21-year-old Marine was killed in action Tuesday, his family said.
He was described as a tough athlete - all 6 foot 1 inch - of him, a former defensive lineman and wrestler for Williamsport Area High School. He decided to join the United States Marine Corps Reserves and continue a longstanding family tradition.

On Wednesday afternoon, family and friends gathered to remember Lance Cpl. Abram Howard, 21, at the Old Lycoming Township home of his parents, Connie and Bart Howard. The heartbreak was palpable.

Their son, due to return from his military police duty in Afghanistan in weeks, was killed about 5 p.m. Tuesday, the victim of a roadside bomb, according to reports his family received.

NATO forces said a U.S. service member was killed in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, but gave no other details.

July has been one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly nine-year Afghan war, with 59 service members killed so far.

Grieving relatives, friends and workers from Frito-Lay - where Howard worked - arrived one after another. Police and firefighters stopped by to offer condolences.

"He loved his family," said Howard's uncle, Joe Dincher, a former Marine who served from 1982 to 1986. "Before he deployed, he went around to see everybody."

Howard came from a family of Marines. He was the 12th in his family to become a Marine. His great-uncle, Sam Howard, died on the island of Okinawa in World War II.

"He wanted to live by tradition of not just serving, but serving as one of the few, the proud and as a United States Marine," the family said in a statement.

Howard called a few weeks ago to say he was in "a hell of a firefight," and the platoon was pinned down by enemy insurgents. His canteen was low on water and the temperature outside was about 120 degrees, Dincher said.

He had a strong bond with all of his family, including his sister, Olivia, and brother, Alex. He was particularly fond of his grandfather, Bernard Dincher of Newberry.

An outdoor enthusiast, Howard was considered an avid hunter who enjoyed spending time at the Crooked Shot Hunting Camp in Limestone Township.

Even as the family and friends grieved, stories were shared about Howard bagging a large buck when he was 13.

"We grew up together," said Jeff Dincher, 20. Seth Foust, 19, another close friend said his buddies would probably reminisce, perhaps around a campfire along Rock Run.

"He's one of our own," said Christopher Bain, who retired from the U.S. Army after being injured in Iraq. He since has been a strong advocate for the Wounded Warriors Project and a liaison for families who have lost military personnel.

Howard was one of Williamsport's Hometown Heroes and was on a banner near the Third Street parking garage, across the street from CareerLink. Below his smiling face is a memorial with several candles.

The Hometown Heroes celebrated this past Saturday with its first ceremony marking the project as a multi-year happening.

Howard, born June 15, 1989, was a 2007 graduate of Williamsport Area High School. He graduated from boot camp, combat training and then military police school. He reported to a reserve unit, Bravo Co. in Pittsburgh, then to Cherry Point, N.J., for combat operations training and was deployed to Afghanistan in the second week of February.

Howard's body is being returned to Dover Air Force Base, Del., where the family will receive it. Arrangements are being handled by Sanders Funeral Home.

Howard was a member of the former Ascension Catholic Church, and the funeral and Mass likely will be at St. Joseph the Worker Church, according to Dincher, but that has yet to be confirmed.

His uncle broke down again, thinking about the sacrifice of the military in war.

"They always tell Marines: 'Tell St. Peter another Marine reported, sir. I've served my time in hell,' '' he said. "It's true Marines guard the gates of hell."


LCpl. Abram LaRue Howard
POSTED: August 2, 2010

LCpl. Abram LaRue Howard, 21, of 1 Round Hill Road, Williamsport, Old Lycoming Twp. died Tuesday, July, 27, 2010, at Bastion Medical Center, Afghanistan, while serving his country in the U.S. Marine Corps in the fight against terrorism in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

Born June 15, 1989 in Williamsport, he was a son of Bart L. and Constance "Connie" L. Dincher Howard.

Abram was a 2007 graduate of Williamsport High School, where he played football and wrestled. He also loved music and was in the orchestra at Williamsport where he played bass. He had been in Boy Scout Troop 14 in Newberry. He also enjoyed playing the guitar with his father and brother. He had worked at Dincher and Dincher Tree Surgeons and also at Frito-Lay.

Abram was a member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Ascension Catholic Church. He loved spending time outdoors, hunting and fishing. He loved going to his family's cabin, the Crooked Shot Hunting Camp, especially with his grandfather Bernard Mike Dincher, whom he admired.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on May 9, 2007, and joined the Marine Corps Jan. 8, 2008 and was currently assigned to Military Police Company B, also known as Bravo Co., Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, based in North Versailles, (Pittsburgh Area). This was his second deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He had attained his current rank of Lance Corporal on April 1, 2009. His personal awards and decorations included the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Abram lived for the Marines and was a third generation Marine.

Surviving in addition to his parents, are a brother, Alexander James Howard and a sister, Olivia Marie Howard, both at home; maternal grandparents, Bernard Mike and Helen Yoder Dincher of Williamsport; aunts and uncles, Judith Young, Barbara and Mark Cellini, Thomas Dincher, Rita Dincher, Joseph and Michelle Dincher, Ginger and Roger Reibson, Thomas and Linda Howard, Dawn and Gary Guerrisky, and Samuel and Lora Howard; and many close cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Harold and Glenna Boyles Howard and his cousin, Michael J. Cellini.


All information from Williamsport Sun Gazette


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  • Created by: Patricia Witman Feaster
  • Added: 29 Jul 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 55584781
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for LCpl Abram LaRue Howard (15 Jun 1989–27 Jul 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55584781, citing Wildwood Cemetery, Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Patricia Witman Feaster (contributor 47241695) .