MOORHEAD, Miss. --
Brig. Gen. Bradley James, the commanding general of 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, and senior leaders with 4th MAW, attended a memorial service for the 15 Marines and one sailor who perished in a C-130 airplane crash in July 2017, in Moorhead, Mississippi, Oct. 19, 2017.
In conjunction with the memorial, Moorhead residents also celebrated the 200th birthday of the state of Mississippi, with songs and multiple speeches from residents and well-known figures.
During the event, state governor Phil Bryant spoke to an audience about the history of Mississippi and also paid tribute to U.S. military personnel, family and friends, and to those who spent countless hours recovering and mourning the individuals who died.
“Command and control had been established by General James and the Marines,” said Bryant, speaking of the recovery of the Marines and sailor for the weeks after the crash. “They would not leave until those men were recovered.”
The city of Moorhead found two ways to immortalize those service members.
Shade Smith, a resident of Moorhead, was recruited by the Moorhead Garden Club, a group organized by local residents who garden, to create a mural of all U.S. branches; the mural contains paintings of each branches symbol and on one corner is the date ‘July 10, 2017’ to symbolize when the C-130 crashed into a soybean field, and how that day will never be forgotten.
Not 100 yards away, next to the historical Yellow Dog marker, an area where two railroads used to intersect, are 16 bricks that bear the names of each service member; bricks that will never be removed.
“We celebrate not only America and our bicentennial, but also the men who wore the cloth of their country so honorably,” said Bryant. “We’re gathered here today to remember ‘Yanky-72’, and to never forget those that we lost.”