SEAL Families Remember Christian Warriors

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Family and friends will gather Thursday to honor the life of one the 30 fallen U.S. servicemen killed in Afghanistan over the weekend.

U.S. Navy SEAL Kevin Houston, one of 22 SEALs who died in Saturday's insurgent attack upon a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, will be memorialized in Virginia Beach, Va.

"He would often say, 'I'm at the tip of the spear. I'm right where I wanna be,'" Jarrod Paquette said of his friend.

As the nation grieves the loss of their fallen heros, family and friends are finding comfort in each other and local churches are stepping in to help heal the wounds.

The top American commander in Afghanistan just announced that international forces killed the Afghan insurgents responsible for shooting down the Chinook helicopter.

But the news comes as cold comfort to grieving loved-ones who, days after the tragedy, are still in shock.

"He died doing what he wanted to do," said Mikayla Dreyer, a friend of one of the men.

Just eight weeks ago, 30-year-old Aaron Vaughn witnessed the birth of his daughter. Now his wife Kimberly is left to raise their 2-year-old son and an infant.

"His last words to me were, 'I love you. I'll talk to you later.' And one day in heaven we will,'" she said.

Kimberly Vaughn told CNN that her husband was man with a deep Christian faith.

"A wonderful husband, and fabulous father to two wonderful children he was a warrior for Christ," she said.

Like the Vaughns, most of the 22 Navy SEALs who died lived in Virginia Beach with their families.

SEALs like Houston and Lou Langlais attended Atlantic Shores Baptist Church. This church and other churches are working around the clock to minister and pray with the grieving families.

"These guys are all men's men. They are strong and Kevin is fun and full of life, and in fact, recently he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior," said Kyle Wall, lead pastor of the church.

Wall spent the day praying with the families.

"It's going to be an inner process of healing from the Holy Spirit working in their lives. He is the only one that can bring true healing," Wall explained.

CBN News Military Correspondent Chuck Holton was recently embedded in Afghanistan with some of the SEALs who died in the crash.

"They are some of the most lethal human beings on the planet, but they are also very compassionate. And I think that's because they know that to be a good warrior they have to suppress the emotions of fear and anger and that sort of thing, but they never suppress the emotion of love. Because the best characteristics of love bring out the best characteristics in a warrior," he explained.

"They are tough, but even today I heard stories about them sharing their faith, sharing what God was doing in their life with their peers," Wall said.

And while the families are finding comfort in God, they also find comfort knowing these men died fighting for America -- a country they loved.

"These Navy SEALs, they don't do it for the medals or TV interviews or anything. They do it because it's the right thing to do," Vaughn said.

Memorial plans for the remaining service members have not yet been announced.

--Originally aired August 9, 2011.

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Mark Martin

Mark Martin

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.