EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The EOD community, family and friends remembered a fallen hero Oct. 30, with the dedication of a building in his honor.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Douville was an Airman assigned to the 96th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight when he was killed while on this third deployment. He died June 26, 2011, as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device on the border of the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
According to Tech Sgt. Adam Meredith, the Daniel Douville EOD Facility is a testament to his courage.
“Daniel was an outstanding EOD operator. He exemplified all the characteristics that being an EOD technician demands,” Meredith said. “Regardless of the task, he truly loved what EOD stands for, placing yourself in harm’s way so others can be safe.”
Meredith said Douville’s selfless actions when facing danger saved countless lives and displayed courage in every situation.
Senior Airman Johnny Cervantes spent a month in pre-deployment training and then deployed with Douville as part of a three-man team. They were on patrol together when Douville was killed. He said he carried on with a new team leader after the incident.
“It was tough because we still had almost six months of combat operations before we could go home,” he said.
Cervantes sees the building dedication as an enormous honor for a remarkable man.
“This is great for us to remember him, but it’s also for people who didn’t know him who will walk through these doors and know what he did.”
Douville’s wife LaShana agreed. She said people will know of him forever, and the sacrifices he made are not taken lightly.
“I’m grateful,” LaShana said quietly. “I tell my children ‘that is your name up there forever,’ and one day they will understand the sacrifices made for them.”
Although most of her family is in Louisiana, the Douvilles lived in the local area for 10 years before Daniel was killed. They purchased a home four months before his death.
“One of his dreams was to own a house before he turned 35,” she said. “It never crossed my mind to leave this area.”
LaShana said she still takes one day at a time but gets tremendous support from the EOD community. They sponsor an annual bike ride in his honor in Panama City and a flight from each graduating class at the NCO Academy bears his name. She knows her husband joined the military to take care of her and their three children. She reminds them of the significance of each dedication constantly.
“I tell them there are people in the Air Force who die every day and do not get the recognition their father gets. I hope one day they realize that.”
Douville was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Valor and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. His name appears on the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal memorial and now on Bldg. 1334 on Eglin AFB.
“For decades to come, people will know Daniel Douville and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom,” Meredith said.