Thursday, May 19, 2011

Command Sergeant Major Charles McGrath, United States Army, Ret.

Charles McGrath was born March 2, 1938 in Mansfield, Ohio and passed away May 10, 2011 in Temple, Texas at the age of 73.

Charles served his country in the United States Army for 23 years, retiring on October 31, 1981 with the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. During his service he was recognized as Drill Sergeant of the Year for the Army and he had a book written about him by Colonel Bill Hoponski, entitled “One Hell of a Ride.”

His many military decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, the Silver Star Medal, two awards of the Bronze Star Medal, five awards of the Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Charles was a life member of the VFW, the American Legion and the DAV. He worked twenty years for Ft. Hood Family Housing.

A Memorial Service was held on May 13, at Crawford Bowers Funeral Home in Copperas Cove, Texas. In attendance were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to welcome the arriving family and friends.

After the service, the Riders led the funeral procession to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen, Texas for inurnment with full military honors. At the cemetery were other of the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags around the committal shelter.

Final prayers were said by a Chaplain of the United States Army Chaplain Corps. The Army Honor Guard rifle detail fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country. The Army bugler, standing in the dappled shade of the live oak trees, played taps.

The Honor Guard then slowly unfolded the American flag that laid next to the Urn, and carefully refolded it into the traditional triangle. The flag was presented to Charles’ dear wife, Tudy, on behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation as thanks for his years of service.

The urn containing Charles’ cremains was then sealed into a niche of the columbarium wall, as the American flag flew at half-staff at the top of the hill above.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, three daughters, a son, thirteen grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a host of other dear family and friends.

With thanks to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home for biographical information.

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