By ROBIN FITZGERALD
THE SUN HERALD
GULFPORT - Imani Woullard of D'Iberville said she believes her husband prayed Monday before he ran inside a house riddled by machine-gun bullets to retrieve the body of a fallen Marine in Iraq.
Marine Corps Sgt. Dennis R. Woullard, interviewed by Ellen Knickmeyer of The Washington Post's foreign service, described sensing "just pure evil inside the house."
Woullard, a local law enforcement officer and associate minister at a D'Iberville church, is among Marines who survived an assault that began Sunday in Ubaydi near the Syrian border. The Marines battled their way into a town, searching each home they passed, finding caches of weapons, bombs, explosives and rocket launchers.
Woullard is a marine patrol officer for the state Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi and a former sergeant at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center in Gulfport.
"I know he prayed before he walked through that door," said Imani Woullard. "When he referred to evil in the house, I believe he meant it in a spiritual sense. He's a praying man.
"He's always been a soldier, a warrior," she said, pointing to his law enforcement background.
Woullard is a former corrections officer for the Illinois Department of Corrections. At the Harrison County jail, he was on the "cell extraction team," trained to remove a combative inmate without injury to the inmate or the officer.
"We just have to pray about it, believe they're in God's hands, and go on," said their father, Dennis Woullard Sr. of Gulfport.