Soldier Among First To Die In Iraq Remembered By Former Teacher

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX) -- Five years ago, South Mississippians got the tragic news that one of their own was among the first to die in the war in Iraq.  In 2003, U.S. troops poured into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's government. On March 21st of that year, Second Marine Lieutenant Shane Childers lost his life in a fire fight.

Childers was a graduate of Harrison Central High School. One of his teachers shared his memories of Childers.

Back in 1988, James Cater was teaching a geometry lesson with a shy young teenager named Shane Childers listening and taking notes.

"He was quiet in my class," said Cater. "He was not the kind of student who went out and got a lot of attention or you would hear his voice above other students. He was just a very quiet, very respectful person."

Childers graduated from Harrison County Central High School in 1990. After high school, he joined the Marines and went on to graduate from the Citadel. During the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, Shane Childers was killed in combat while leading an infantry platoon.

"For all of us, it was a very sad experience," said Cater. "Not only that a soldier had been killed but it was basically one of our own."

A lot has changed over the past five years. Cater has retired and students are learning social studies in what used to be his old math classroom. But what hasn't changed is that soldiers are still in danger.

"They're over there doing what they've been told to do. Their commander-in-chief has said, 'You go to Iraq' and they did it."

Cater still believes Shane Childers and every other fallen soldier is a hero who should be honored.

Childers was 30-years-old at the time of his death. Author Rinker Buck has written a book about the Marine's life and death called "Shane Comes Home."