Marine with Cape ties honored at funeral
Two of the seven Marines killed in the crash of a KC-130 in Pakistan were remembered Saturday as heroes who died for their country.
About 700 people attended the funeral of Capt. Daniel McCollum at Union United Methodist Church in Irmo, S.C.
McCollum and the former Jennifer Harkey were married in May. The woman's parents, Bill and Jenny Harkey, live in Cape Girardeau.
"He was a great American, a great South Carolinian, and we all mourn his loss," said Gov. Jim Hodges.
Capt. Rich Roberts spoke for McCollum's fellow Marines and presented McCollum's Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal to his widow, Jennifer, who is expecting the couple's child in July.
Roberts said McCollum, 28, had flown more than 50 wartime missions refueling military aircraft before his plane crashed.
Roberts described McCollum as "an outstanding Marine and an exceptional pilot."
U.S. Army Capt. Matt McCollum remembered his brother as a role model.
"I looked up to Dan and I wanted to be like him. We all are his legacy. It was good to have known you. Thank you," McCollum said to mourners over his brother's flag-draped casket, which was buried at the Bush River Memorial Gardens.
Also on Saturday, mourners in Montgomery, Ala., remembered Gunnery Sgt. Stephen L. Bryson as a fearless leader.
"I say this to Stephen: You didn't run from the heat of battle. You didn't have to fight but you did. He was a good soldier," said the Rev. G.W.C. Richardson at a memorial service.
Bryson was a flight engineer on the refueling plane that was also resupplying troops involved in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
More than 1,000 people attended the service for Bryson, a native of Montgomery, including Gov. Don Siegelman, Mayor Bobby Bright and fellow Marines stationed with the 36-year-old at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.
Sgt. Michael Grace told of the first day in Afghanistan, when the Marines had first landed at the base known as Camp Rhino. He said there were reports of enemy forces nearby and that the runway for landing the huge KC-130 was mostly a line in the sand.
"It was a very stressful combat situation. There was fear on everybody's faces. The only person who I did not see fear on his face was Stephen. He was always calm, cool and collected," Grace said.
Bryson was buried with full military honors following the almost three-hour service.
Resolutions honoring Bryson from the state and the city were presented to his widow, Katrina Bryson, and his mother, Deloris Bryson of Montgomery.