Local fallen soldier's body returns home

November 6, 2011 3:37:56 PM PST
The body of a Winthrop Harbor soldier who died in Saudi Arabia arrived just after 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Waukegan Regional Airport.

Army Sgt. 1st Class David Robinson died October 25 in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

"David was like so many of our soldiers called to arms after 9/11. Felt it was his responsibility to jump in and do his duty to the country," said llinois Patriot Guard Riders' Rob Curcio, family liaison.

The 28-year old sergeant was assigned to the U.S. military training mission in Saudi Arabia. He died in what is being called a "non-combat situation," but no more details have been released. At the airport, dozens of assembled Patriot Guard Riders filed into the hangar to await the transfer of Robinson's casket.

"Generally speaking, we are here because we support our fallen military, our active military, our fallen and active first responders. We're here today, specifically, to pay our respects and honor the service of Sgt. 1st Class David Robinson, and we're here to show our support to his family, his friends and his community," said the Illinois Patriot Guard Riders' Mark Pleasant.

Following the transfer, the guard escorted Robinson's hearse from the building and were able to drive past his former high school on their way to a Zion Funeral Home.

"It is probably the most visceral, poignant moment in all of our lives. It is very humbling. And at the same time, we're very honored to be allowed to be a part of that very private moment," said Mark Pleasant, Patriot Guard.

Watching the arrival of Robinson was Kathleen Penich-Garross. She lost her son Sgt. John Penich in Afghanistan three years ago.

"They played football together when they were younger. They were the same age, grew up in the same circle of friends pretty much. They died the same month. There is definitely a connection. We'll be there for the family if they need us," Penich-Garross said.

A visitation for Robinson was scheduled for Monday, to be followed by a funeral mass Tuesday.

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