The sacrifice and service of South Mississippi soldier was recognized Wednesday by the hundreds who gathered to say a final farewell to 46-year-old Army Sergeant Larry Arnold Senior of Carriere.
"Larry Arnold was a man who was a devoted father, devoted husband beloved son and brother. He was also a valued member of this community," Mississippi National Guard Brigadier General Ben Gaston said.
Arnold was one of two National Guardsmen killed on June 11 when a bomb exploded near their humvee south of Baghdad.
He was a member of the 150th Combat Engineering Battalion assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat team which deployed to Iraq in January.
This was Arnold's second tour of duty in Iraq. The unit includes his 21-year-old son, Bobby, and many other young soldiers he felt needed his help.
"The younger soldiers look up to the older guys and they look forward to the mentoring. And if it wasn't for the mentoring by the older soldiers, the younger soldiers would have a much more difficult time than what they've had."
Arnold spent eight and a half years on active Army duty and the past 14 as a Mississippi National Guard combat engineer.
Through Arnold's sacrifice, he earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Mississippi Medal of Valor. It's also earned him a permanent place in the hearts and minds of those he served with, lived among, and left behind.
"You can only express your appreciation," Gaston said. "And that needs to be done on a daily basis, not only to the soldiers who have lost their lives, but to the soldiers and the families that are still serving in Iraq."
Fellow 150th Combat Engineer Specialist Terrance Lee of Moss Point will be buried on Friday at Machpelah Cemetery in Pascagoula.