A Day To Mourn And A Day To Honor A Local Soldier

By Scott Sarvay

December 29, 2010 Updated Dec 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Family and friends of a fallen Marine said their farewells to 22-year-old LCpl. William Crouse who died December 21.

At 2 p.m, dozens of friends, family and fellow Marines gathered at First Assembly of God church to pay final respects to the 22-year old lance corporal, who was born in Angola, and attended Northrop High School for a couple of years, before he joined the corps. And eventually paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The body of “Billy” Crouse arrived at the Air National Guard base Tuesday afternoon and was honored with a procession.

Police officers with K-9 units saluted Crouse, who was a bomb-sniffing dog handler in Afghanistan when he and his dog "Cane" were killed in an explosion last week.

Crouse had only been serving in Operation Enduring Freedom for about six weeks, when the explosion occurred.

His job was one of the most dangerous in the military, and he paid the ultimate price in serving this nation.

A funeral with full military honors was held Wednesday afternoon with another procession taking the body to Covington Memorial Gardens for burial.

Jennifer Chaffee William’s sister says, “Walk peacefully on heaven's streets, you've done your time in hell. I love my brother with all my heart, and I'm so proud of him."

Diane Jacquay who attended the funeral said, "They put their lives on the line so people can say what they want to say, so that you can stand here and have a job, so we can do what we want to do, and his family deserves respect."

We've had a lot of inquiries about his bomb sniffing dog "Cane", and Jennifer was able to tell Indiana’s NewsCenter that there will be some type of memorial with a statue of a canine with the names of the officers that worked with those animals underneath.

She believes there will be a ceremony in which the names of Crouse and his dog will be added to that, but she's not certain of that.

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