BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a 22-year-old soldier who died while on leave at his home in Litchfield, Maine.
Pvt. Lawrence "Larry" Gowell II died at home on Saturday from what his father suspects was a blood clot. Gowell had been at the warrior transition unit in Baumholder after being diagnosed last fall with post-traumatic stress disorder. He had just served his first tour in Iraq.
He had returned to Maine on July 15 to attend a relative’s funeral. His father, also named Larry, said Tuesday that an official cause of death has not been determined, but that he suspected it was a blood clot.
"He had a sore around his leg," the father said by phone from his home in Maine. "It was hurting him bad. I tried getting him to go to the hospital, but he didn’t want to because he had just gotten home."
Gowell leaves behind a wife, Crystal; a 2-year-old son and a 15-month-old daughter, as well as his parents, Larry and Lisa, both of Litchfield.
Gowell joined the Army in 2007 after his son was born.
"I’ll always remember the transformation," his father said. "He went from a wild child to an outstanding soldier, and I was so proud to see that he had changed."
Prior to being at the WTU, Gowell was assigned to Baumholder’s 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment. While on his first deployment to Iraq, his convoy was attacked and his best friend was killed, his father said.
"He was the one who stopped the enemy from firing on his platoon," the father said.
Pfc. Brnyn McCartney said Tuesday that he got to know Gowell while the soldiers were in the 2-6 rear detachment earlier this year. McCartney said Gowell was a funny guy, "kind of like the class clown."
"I’ll remember him for being outgoing and able to bring a smile to everyone’s face," said McCartney, 22. "He kept morale up."
Gowell planned to work at his father’s sawmill and oil delivery business when he got out of the Army. He would have turned 23 in August.
A memorial service for Gowell will be held at 2 p.m. July 28 at Baumholder’s Chapel 1.
Stars and Stripes reporter Steve Mraz contributed to this story.