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Wounded Marine returns home, attends funeral for infant girl

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

CHICAGO -- A Marine badly wounded in Iraq just days before his wife gave birth to quintuplets has been reunited with his family, a military official said Monday.

Marine reservist Sgt. Joshua Horton, 28, had been recovering at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., from shrapnel wounds suffered four days before his wife, Taunacy, gave birth Oct. 11.

His right leg in a cast and using a walker, Horton returned to his Oswego home Wednesday night, said Maj. Rick Coates, a spokesman for Horton's Chicago-based unit, the 2nd Battalion 24th Marine Regiment.

On Friday, he attended a funeral for one of the infants, a girl named Addyson, who died Oct. 30. "It was a very moving, heartfelt ceremony," Coates said.

Edward Hospital spokesman Brian Davis said the family has requested the hospital not release information on the condition of the surviving babies -- two girls and two boys.

Family spokeswoman Chelsea Fife said the infants are "all beautiful and healthy and growing strong," but refused to release more details about them or Horton's return.

The babies were born at 26 weeks, each weighing less than 2 pounds. The Hortons have two other children, 7 and 5.

The couple had decided after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that one of them should volunteer for duty, family members have said. Horton had previously been in the Marines, his wife was in the Navy.

Horton was already training when they found out his wife was pregnant with quints; she'd been taking fertility drugs. He was injured in an explosion south of Baghdad.

Horton is on 30-day medical leave and can then decide if he needs more recovery time, wants to return to the military or apply for a medical discharge, Coates said.


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