Local News

Military Community Reacts, Mourns Loss Of Two Local Men

Posted March 13, 2002

— The bodies of a Fort Bragg soldier and an airman from Pope Air Force Base killed in Afghanistan are back on U.S. soil.

Chief Warrant Officer Stan Harriman

, 34, of Wade, was killed Saturday when his vehicle was hit by enemy mortar fire. His body arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Wednesday night.

The Army's Special Forces Group and the North Carolina National Guard arranged to have Harriman's body flown back to North Carolina. From RDU, Harriman was taken to a funeral home in Fayetteville.

An 11 a.m. memorial service will be held Friday at JFK Chapel on Fort Bragg. Harriman's funeral will follow at 3 p.m. at Arran Lakes Baptist Church on Bingham Drive in Fayetteville.

Harriman is survived by his wife and three children.

Technical Sergeant John Chapman

, 36, a Pope airman, was one of seven miltary men killed when two helicopters were hit by enemy fire on Monday.

Chapman's body arrived at Dover Air Force Base Thursday morning. Once Chapman's body is identified, it will be flown to Pittsburgh for his funeral, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday at Pope Air Force Base. His family has asked that it be closed to the public.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

Both men were serving in Operation Anaconda, the latest initiative in the War on Terrorism.

Military casualties are nothing new to the Fayetteville community. Thousands of Fort Bragg soldiers and Pope airmen have died in past wars, but things have been different in recent conflicts.

In recent years, reports have been about service members dying during training, but now the casualties come from war. People who live in this military town may know what can happen, but they said hearing of war-related deaths is never easy.

Every Wednesday, a group of World War II and Vietnam veterans meet for lunch. They read the latest headlines and share stories.

Retired Col. Vernon Greene served in the military for more than 30 years.

"I had five children and a wife when I went to Vietnam. We never discussed not returning. In fact, I expected to come back," he said.

More than 100 Cumberland County men did not return from Vietnam. Now, two will not be returning from the War on Terrorism.

Nancy Holland did not know the men, but still considers them neighbors. She cannot help but have a heavy heart.

"It really brought tears to my eyes," she said. "They are leaving children behind, wives, parents. It's real saddening."

In a military town, you would expect people to be prepared for casualties of war. That is not always the case.

"We are lucky we haven't lost more than we have," said veteran Ray Utley.

Utley knows what can happen. He lost his legs during his second tour of Vietnam. Still, he said nothing can prepare you for the headlines.

"I don't read very much of it," he said. "I just hate to see people messed up and lose lives."

The veterans credit training and equipment as reasons why more lives have not been lost in Operation Enduring Freedom.


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