Members of Company E, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment honored the lives of Pfc. Connor James McGurran at a memorial service held at the Daniel Circle Chapel on January 16.
The ceremony brought together his teammates and Fort Jackson management as well as his father and other family members.
“I did not know Pfc. McGurran as well as his fight buddies and certainly not as well as his family. What I do know is that he volunteered to serve his nation at a time when the risk of conflict is always possible,” said Captain Matthew Owen, E Company Commander. he is a patriot, a devout Catholic and a great American.”
McGurran had successfully completed eight weeks of basic combat training with his teammates. He had made friendships while being an integral part of his business. His commanding officer said he was determined to become the best soldier he could be, including cheering his comrades through the toughest times in BCT and improving his execution time by more than three minutes.
During the final weeks of training leading up to graduation, all trainees must perform the final training exercise called The Forge. The exercise tests each trainee on the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout BCT and to earn the title of soldier. It was during this exercise that McGurran was found unresponsive. He received immediate life-saving treatment and was taken to a local trauma center where he was later pronounced dead.
The soldier’s loss was felt not only by his family members and friends from his home in Minnesota, but also by his fellow company members.
“He was a good teammate and a good fellow soldier,” said Lt. Col. Michael Penny, battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment. “The day he died… his closest friends in the business asked if they could continue to wear Pfc. McGurran’s rifle to the end to honor their friend. McGurran, you’re ‘Courage Worthy’, you’ve earned it.
McGurran’s father, Navy Cmdr. Shawn McGurran, an operations officer based at Marine Corps Air Station Mirimar, San Diego, Calif., sat gloomily on the front row pews during the memorial ceremony for his son. His dark navy ceremonial uniform stood out distinctly among the sea of army combat uniforms.
Cmdt. McGurran has listened to the people closest to his son over the past eight weeks speak.
“McGurran was an amazing person, perfect with all his faults. He was honest and seemed like everything he did came from the heart,” Pvt. Trentarius May told his fellow fighter’s father. that you want to say something. Sir, I want to let you know that you are not going through this alone. Those you love never truly die.
As the speakers finished their remarks, Pfc. Kevin Ortiz performed and sang “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s. The song was one of McGurran’s favorites according to his bandmates.
The memorial ceremony ended with the traditional call of the “Last Roll Call” and the bugle of Taps after a 21-gun salute.
Slowly each of the McGurran family members, command team members and fellow combatants approached the Soldier’s Cross at the front of the chapel and returned a slow, somber salute, a final traditional military farewell.
“Your soldier wasn’t just a soldier,” May said in her final farewell. “He was our brother.”
Editor’s Note: Connor James McGurran was posthumously promoted to Private First Class prior to his memorial ceremony.
|Date posted:||23.01.2020 13:44|
|Site:||FORT JACKSON, South Carolina, USA|
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