Local News

Harnett County soldier's remains returned to North Carolina

Posted June 10, 2016 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2016 10:50 p.m. EDT

— A former Triton High School student stationed at Fort Hood who died during a training exercise in Texas made her final trip back to North Carolina Friday afternoon.

Eddy Rae’Laurin Gates, 20, was one of 12 soldiers who were in a truck that overturned in a flooded creek while in the process of closing roads at Fort Hood; a total of nine soldiers were killed in the incident.

On Friday afternoon, Gates’ remains were flown Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where she was met by friends and family and an honor guard to help escort her flag-draped coffin.

Gary McCoy of the Patroit Guard Riders is a Vietnam veteran who was at the airport Friday afternoon.

"This is one way of showing our appreciation of the service they gave," McCoy said.

The 20-year-old was homecoming queen as a senior at Triton High School and returned home regularly to help with the junior ROTC drill team.

"My sympathy goes out to the family of Rae'Laurin Gates, and the eight other Fort Hood soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the citizens of our nation," Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement. "Ann and I are praying for her family."

Gates’ family said she was assigned to Fort Hood at the beginning of June and had always wanted to be part of the military.

McCoy spoke with Gates' mother, Marlene Strongs and offered his support during.

"I told her I felt her pain," McCoy said. "My heart is breaking, just as hers is."

A funeral service for Gates is scheduled for Sunday.