HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 325TH INFANTRY, 2 BCT, FORT BRAG
Monday, May 28, 2007Planted In His Honor where he use to work before the Military.
Marquis McCants laid to rest
At the start of a gray Memorial Day weekend, family, friends and fellow soldiers gathered at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on Saturday morning to bury Spc. Marquis J. McCants, the 28th San Antonian killed in action in Iraq.
The rain cleared long enough for McCants' flag-draped coffin to arrive at the gravesite after a slow and somber procession, carried by a horse-drawn caisson accompanied by an honor guard.
A rifle volley, followed by a lone bugle sounding taps, echoed over a sea of white headstones, each decorated with a small American flag, as is the custom for Memorial Day weekend.
The moment the service concluded, a light rain resumed.
"It's cloudy outside, but the sun is shining through," said the Rev. Elder McCants, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church of San Antonio and the deceased soldier's cousin, who officiated at the service. "That's God's grace."
At a memorial service at Sunset Funeral Chapel earlier Saturday, Maj. Gen. Russell J. Czerw, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, presented McCants' wife, Andrea McCants, and parents with his posthumous honors, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal and Combat Medical Badge.
"This is the home of the free because of brave men like Marquis," Czerw said. "He will not be forgotten."
McCants, 23, who also leaves behind three young children, was a combat medic assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
He was one of two soldiers killed May 18 in Baghdad when their unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.
"He was one of the most caring guys I knew, as far as caring for his brothers in arms," said Spc. Chase Walden, who served three years with McCants but returned to the United States the day before he was killed.
"It was a pleasure serving with him," Walden said. "I'm going to miss him greatly."
At his service, Elder McCants told family and friends that his cousin had gone to "a better life than this sinful world."
"The mansion that Jesus built is better than the White House, better than anything Saddam Hussein built," he said.
Another cousin, Romero McCants of Milwaukee, recalled McCants as someone who loved life, with a quick grin and a passion for living.
"When he said he was your friend, he was your friend," he said. "If he said he had your back, he had it all the way to the end."
Marquis McCants was a 2001 graduate of O'Connor High School. He was a talented songwriter and had hoped to earn a degree in music, his family said.
He joined the Army in 2005 and was known as "Doc" to the soldiers in his unit.
"Marquis, like so many before him, readily stepped forward, and he joined the Army," Czerw said. "The Army provided him the skills ... to provide care and comfort to his fellow soldiers at arms."
Marquis J. McCants dies of 'wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using an IED and small arms fire'G, NC LOCATION:BAGHDAD, IRAQ