Mississippi Funeral Directors Escort Fallen Heroes
Late on the night of July 11, I received an unexpected call from Carson Sprow, president of International Mortuary Shipping. His company had been contacted to coordinate and oversee the transfer of the bodies of 15 Marines and a Navy corpsman from the Forensics Laboratory in Jackson, Mississippi, to a C5 aircraft waiting at the Air National Guard at Jackson-Evers International Airport.
All 16 servicemen lost their lives the day before when their KC-130, en route from the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, to the Naval Air Facility El Centro in Southern California, crashed in a soybean field in rural Leflore County, Mississippi.
Ladd Pulliam, president of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association, was notified, and, within an hour, members of MFDA and the Mississippi Funeral Directors and Morticians Association committed to having 16 white hearses at the lab at 6:15 a.m. the next day.
I would like to thank Carson for allowing me to join him in Jackson for this heartfelt and humbling experience. I was in awe of the men and women from the Forensics Lab, Dover Air Force Base, the Air National Guard and local and state law enforcement agencies, who worked together, combining their efforts to make certain that our fallen heroes were treated with the utmost dignity and respect.