Army Sgt. Justin W. Garvey
Died July 20, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
23, of Townsend, Mass.; assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1-187 Infantry Battalion, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed during a patrol when the vehicle he occupied was ambushed and struck by a rocket-propelled grenade July 20 at Tallifar, Iraq.
Garvey buried in Vermont
FAIR HAVEN, Vt. — Church bells tolled July 28 to welcome Army Sgt. Justin Garvey home from the war in Iraq.
An eight-man honor guard of soldiers, civilians and a Marine carried Garvey’s flag-draped casket into the Our Lady of Seven Dolors church in Fair Haven for his funeral.
Afterward he was buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery, taking his place under a pine tree near veterans of previous American conflicts: the Civil War, World War II and Korea.
During the burial ceremony, a soldier choked back sobs as Garvey was reported absent after a symbolic roll-call of a small group of soldiers. Along with the folded American flag, Garvey’s family was given his medals, including a posthumous bronze star, purple heart and combat infantry man’s badge.
The 23-year-old Garvey was killed July 20 when the vehicle in which he was riding was ambushed near Tal Afar, Iraq.
Garvey was a member of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He was one of two soldiers to die in the same attack and the third Vermonter to die in combat operations since the Iraq war began in March.
“It hits home. It really makes us think about the cost of our way of life,” said Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville, the head of the Vermont National Guard, who has attended all three Vermont funerals.
In April, Army pilot Erik Halvorsen of Bennington was killed when his helicopter went down while flying a combat mission. A day later, Marine Cpl. Mark Evnin of South Burlington was killed as his unit marched on Baghdad.
Garvey’s family did not allow the news media to watch or listen to the church service, but the steady stream of uniformed mourners and young people bidding goodbye to a fallen classmate told the story.
Garvey’s widow Katie and his mother Angie Walsh led the mourners. His 9-year-old younger brother Adam wore to the funeral a desert camouflage uniform with the Screaming Eagle shoulder patch of the 101st Airborne.
Garvey graduated from Proctor High School, where he was co-captain of the soccer team, in 1998 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. His wife, Katie, was his high school sweetheart and currently lives in Oak Grove, Ky. His mother now lives in Massachusetts and his father lives in Florida.
Garvey spent three years as a member of the Vermont National Guard before joining the regular Army. He had been planning to leave the Army and rejoin his wife in Kentucky.
“He did his duty. It’s so tragic he had to pay with his life,” Rainville said.
Vermont National Guard Master Sgt. Scott Bigelow was Garvey’s first supervisor after basic training.
“He was one of the most squared-away and motivated soldiers I’ve had in 24 years of service,” Bigelow said. “The more difficult the task, the more he liked it.”
Bigelow said he wasn’t surprised that Garvey made the switch to the regular Army.