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"Epitome of sacrifice:" Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson's funeral reflects on hometown hero

A war hero's hometown gathered last Wednesday to bid him a final farewell.

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Soldiers salute as Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson's casket is loaded into a waiting hearse.
Jason Smith
Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Lee Wilson was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq on Nov. 23. Members of his family, home church, high school graduating class and the community came together at noon for his funeral at Springfield Baptist Church in Thomson.

The service included Command Sgt. Major Wilson's favorite hymnal "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a poem read by his son, Mantrell. Many stories were also shared about how he was not only a great soldier, but a great man.

"He loved (being a soldier). That was his life," said Thomson native James Hill after the service. "He was a gentleman, one of the most pleasant guys you could meet."

"People say you couldn't ask for a better friend or a better leader," said Wayne Calhoun, who is retired from the Air Force. "Everybody spoke really highly of him."

The ceremony at the church was followed by a graveside service at Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens in which Command Sgt. Major Wilson's mother Daisy was presented with the medals that her son had earned during his military service. She was also given the flag that was draped on Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's coffin.

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Richmond County Sheriff's Department motorcycle officers salute the hearse carrying Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's body at the entrance of Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens.
Jason Smith
Many soldiers who had served with Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson were on hand for the services. "Taps" was played and a 21-gun salute was made in honor of their fallen comrade.

But for many of the mourners present, the most touching moment was when Springfield Baptist Pastor Rev. Frederick Favors showed a picture of a soldier's uniform draped over a cross.

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Servicemen carry Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's casket out of Springfield Baptist Church.
Jason Smith
"It represents the epitome of sacrifice, the selfless service that Jerry epitomized," said Command Sgt. Maj. Darrell Butler, a friend and high school classmate of Command Sgt. Major Wilson. "Though he was fallen, (Rev. Favors) spoke about his life, yet still lifting other up."

For friends and family, Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson was more than just a gentle man and a good soldier. They considered him inspirational.

"Being able to see him and others from the community succeed in the military encouraged me," Command Sgt. Maj. Butler said.

"I had heard that he had made the rank of Command Sgt. Maj., and it gave me some inspiration to stay for a while. And then I eventually made it as well."



Web posted on Thursday, December 11, 2003











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