Skip to comments.Rockport Soldier Killed in Crash
Posted on 08/23/2007 10:47:39 AM PDT by Froufrou
A 23-year-old Rockport soldier was among 14 killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in northern Iraq while on an overnight operation, according to the family's pastor.
Garrett Ian McLead's parents were notified Wednesday morning that their eldest son had died, said the Rev. Charles Fake of Rockport's First Baptist Church.
"They knew he was in a dangerous place," the pastor said. "Not too long ago, his friend got shot while standing next to him. But they still weren't prepared for that. Right now, we're just so shocked by it all."
Fake said McLead's parents, Patrick and Patricia McLead, and younger brother Mason didn't want to immediately talk publicly about the death.
McLead, a member of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, enlisted in the military after graduating from Rockport-Fulton High School in 2002. He previously served one tour in Afghanistan and was on his first tour in Iraq.
He is the second service member from his graduating class to die in Iraq. The other is Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Holloway who died in January 2005.
"He was due to come home from Iraq," said Jim Remley, a family friend and vice president of the board for Aransas County Independent School District. "He really enjoyed what he was doing. He really felt it was right for him."
Remley described McLead as an outgoing, popular young man who loved to surf. In high school, McLead played tennis and was a member of several school clubs.
"He just had a great attitude," he said. "He was just a people person."
McLead enlisted in the Army and volunteered to go to Iraq because he felt it was his duty and believed in the cause, Remley said.
He last visited his parents in May, when he came home to surprise them and celebrate his 23rd birthday, according to Remley.
Although the military hadn't formally announced McLead's death Wednesday, word of his passing spread quickly in the small coastal community of Rockport, where flags flew at half-staff in front of City Hall.
The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was on was one of two flying north of Baghdad when it crashed. He was among four crew and nine other members of Task Force Lightning. The military said mechanical failure may have been to blame for the accident, according to the Associated Press.
Funeral arrangements for McLead are pending.
I consider it no sacrifice to die for my country. In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these have lived rather than to regret that they have died.
General George S. Patton
Beautiful sentiment. Thank you, Hooligan.
Home of the Free because of the brave.
PRayers up for this hero’s family.
Thank you sweetie. I am trying to find the right words for a card. We don’t know them but have friends there and I want to do something.
I used this once and I could never really find out who wrote it.
It is a nice verse.
You can shed a tear that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember and only that he’s gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes love and go on.
Please post your replies to Froufrou
Rest in Peace
Garrett Ian McLead
Froufrou, My prayers go up for all who now mourn the passing of Garrett.
If you want on/off my prayer ping list, please let me know. All requests happily honored.
I join in prayer for the McClead family and all his loved ones.
prayers for peace and comfort.
Prayers of condolence and gratitude to all who love him.
That family lost two sons in Iraq.
The Hubbard family of Clovis has lost a second son to the war in Iraq, according to the Clovis Police Department.
Army Specialist Nathan Hubbard, 21, was killed while serving his country. The military has not yet released any details surrounding Hubbards death.
The Hubbard family received notification of his death Wednesday afternoon.
In 2004, Nathan's brother Lance Corporal Jared Hubbard and his childhood friend Jeremiah Baro were killed in action near Ramadi in November of 2004.
Both Nathan and a third brother, Jason Hubbard, joined the the Army in 2005 following Jared's death.
The Hubbard story breaks my heart! There is never enough gratitude to offer these heros.
I think I finally understand why they are so humble when I try to thank them. It’s because, like us, they are grateful for “good Americans.” Even the ones who don’t serve.
A female disabled vet was at my Beauticontrol rep. training. When we had lunch, she was sitting across from me and I grabbed her ticket and said, “please allow me. I’ve always wanted to thank a vet.” She was blown away. I nearly cry every time I thank a vet.
Thank you so much for doing that and for sharing your testimony, dear Froufrou!
You are proving my point, dear lady and fine American!
Thank you so much for your encouragements!
2002 RFHS graduate killed in Iraq helicopter crash
By NORMA MARTINEZ, Managing Editor
He was the class clown who loved to surf and had an infectious laugh. He seemed destined for the California coast and a life on the big screen, but after the tragedy of 9-11, he changed his mind and career path, choosing to serve his country in a job in which he paid the ultimate sacrifice, his life.
Rockport-Fulton High School 2002 graduate Sgt. Garrett McLead was one of 14 U.S. soldiers killed Wednesday, Aug. 22, when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in northern Iraq. His parents, Patrick and Patti McLead of Aransas Pass, and his brother Mason of Austin were notified Wednesday morning.
A brief press conference was held Thursday with representatives from the McLead family present to speak on their behalf. The young man’s uncle, Paul Emmons, and family friend Rockport police chief Tim Jayroe were the representatives.
Garrett’s mother is an eighth-grade history teacher at A.C. Blunt Middle School in Aransas Pass, and his father owns a salon in Rockport.
Garrett was best known as a surfer and skateboarder in high school, but he also competed with the Pirate varsity soccer team and played tennis. He was a member of the band and worked on the high school year book staff.
He was also a six-year member of the 4-H organization and placed fifth at the state livestock judging competition one year.
His classmates and family, however, remember him most as a fun-loving individual who always found things to get into.
A classmate of McLead’s remembers him streaking onto the football field during the annual powder puff football game. His cousin and uncle remember that incident fondly and with laughter. His cousin Greg pointed out Garrett’s parents and grandparents were in the stands that day. They just smiled, waved and said, That’s our boy.
Although he remained an easygoing teenager with a laugh to be remembered, the reminder his senior year began with the tragic incidents of 9-11 were not to be forgotten.
It was those tragic events which led him to decide after his birthday in May 2002 to join the army.
His uncle, Paul Emmons, said the announcement took the family by surprise, but they were very proud of his choice.
His entire group of closest friends had chosen to enlist in all branches of the armed forces.
McLead trained at Fort Benning, GA and then was stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI assigned to the 2-35 Infantry, Tropic Lightning Division.
His first tour of duty was in Afghanistan where he was active in the search for Osama bin Laden.
He completed his tour and his first two years of service and returned to the United States. He then chose to reenlist and began training as a sniper also at Fort Benning.
His second tour took him to Iraq where he continued the battle against Al-Queda. He came home in May for a short visit, spending a week with his cousin, Greg Emmons, in Houston.
Greg happily remembers the visit and notes although he can not divulge all they did, he can say Garrett had a good time.
After his return to service, Garrett requested a move to a reconnaissance team, the one he was with when he was killed.
P. Emmons said he last spoke to his nephew Friday, Aug. 17. The young man told his uncle they were preparing to face some major skirmishes north of Baghdad, but he appeared upbeat and excited to go. He knew it was a reconnaissance mission, Emmons noted, adding, he was a true warrior in every sense of the word. He did not shy away from anything and was always the first to step forward, he said.
Even overseas, however, his fun loving attitude did not diminish.
Laura Simank, director of public relations for the Aransas Pass Independent School District, explained his mother recently mailed him a package which included surfing magazines. They joked about what he would do with surfing magazines in Iraq.
According to information from another family friend, Garrett was supposed to be coming home next month, in time to take an anniversary trip with his parents. Garrett and his brother Mason had purchased a trip to Puerto Rico for the entire family.
He also was facing the last of his enlistment, although Emmons said he believed he would have reenlisted.
He talked about becoming a recruiter and working out of the Houston area, Emmons said.
Jayroe told media representatives Garrett should be remembered as a hero. He was a fine young man whose mission was clear to him and who was happy and proud to be in the army serving his country.
Emmons said the family met with army representatives Wednesday, but they did not have any new information about the Black Hawk helicopter accident.
He said army officials have been very cordial to the family in all their dealings.
Emmons said at this time they do not know when Garrett’s body will be shipped home. They know he has to be sent to Germany first and then to the United States.
Currently there are three options for burial, Arlington, Fort Sam Houston, or Rockport, but no decision had been made as of Thursday.
Emmons said the outpouring of support and community spirit has been wonderful and the media also has been cooperative.
Ironically, Garrett is a member of the same class as Lcpl. Matthew Wayne Holloway who was killed in January 2005 while serving with the United States Marine Corps in Iraq.
Both young men paid the ultimate price while serving their country.
Emmons, in concluding the press conference, said Garrett lived and died by this creed, For two centuries I have kept your nation safe, purchasing freedom with my blood, to tyrants I am the day of reckoning, to the suppressed, the hope of the future, where the fighting is thick, there I am... I am the infantry! Follow me!
I am overcome.
What a beautiful tribute to this hero! Thank God for him!
It is lovely, isn’t it? I think I’ll print out this thread and mail it to his family with a card. What do you think?
Thank you mware!