Memorial To Be Dedicated Honoring First MS Guardsman To Die In Iraqi Freedom

He was the first Mississippi national guardsman to die in the recent war with Iraq. Now his memory will live on through a permanent memorial in his honor. James Chance, III of the 8-90th Army Engineering Battalion, company "C" was killed in Iraq early November. Military officials say his truck struck a land mine.

A little more than a week after his death Chance was laid to rest back in his hometown of Kokomo in Marion County. Officials say Chance was the first Mississippi national guardsman to be killed in action in either operations "Enduring Freedom" or "Iraqi Freedom".

A family support services group paid for the permanent memorial. They wanted to do something for the Chance family since they could have just as easily gotten the same devastating phone call.

A dedication will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. in front of First United Methodist in Kokomo, which was Chance's church. The public is invited.


Highway 98 west of Columbia heading towards McComb.

Turn right at the sign that says "First United Methodist Church".

Drive 1/2 mile and see a white wooden-framed church on the right.