Cleveland sailor gets hero’s return

Patriot Guard Riders carry the casket of U.S. sailor Kyle David from the plane that carried him home to Texas from Norfolk, Va. Bryan Neal, owner of Neal Funeral Home, helped with the funeral escort on Wednesday, May 22.

By Vanesa Brashier,

U.S. Navy AT2 Kyle A. David, 27, of Cleveland, was welcomed home at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on May 22 after his death on May 9 from a non-combat-related incident.

David, who served seven years in the U.S. Navy after enlisting in April 2012, was working at VAW-120 as an aviation technician and shift supervisor in Norfolk, Va., at the time of his death.

David’s return was met at the airport by Patriot Guard Riders from the Southeast Houston Chapter, Cleveland police officers, Liberty County sheriff’s deputies, Neal Funeral Home personnel and two U.S. sailors, including E6 Daniel McCullar, who was David’s supervisor in Norfolk.

McCullar accompanied the casket carrying his friend as it was flown from Norfolk to Houston on Wednesday. As the airplane approached the arrival gate, two firefighting cannons sprayed an arch of water across the plane as a tribute to David’s service to the country.

AT2 Kyle David, a Cleveland, Texas, sailor in the U.S. Navy, died as a result of a non-combat-related incident on May 9. He was 27.

People inside the airport and the airplane watched curiously from windows as the solemn funeral detail unloaded David’s flag-draped coffin from the airplane and carried it to a nearby hearse.

Later, McCullar reflected on the loss of his friend, who he described as having two sides to his personality.

“He was a great guy. When he was off-duty, he was fun and liked to joke around. When he walked in to go on-duty, his demeanor changed. He took his job very seriously and was one of the best technicians,” McCullar said.

He said that David had been eyeing the possibility of moving up in the ranks and the two had joked about it.

“I told him I didn’t care if he made officer, I was never going to salute him,” he said, pausing for a moment to reflect. “And today I’ve already saluted him twice.”


The funeral for AT2 Kyle David will be held on Friday, May 24, at 2 p.m., at Neal Funeral Home in Cleveland.

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