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Fallen Hero Mission Complete
US Army SGT Alex J. Funcheon
of Bel Aire, Kansas

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mission Photos

Tribute from Bob "Snapshot" Dashiell (2mb pdf)

This was a three-part mission.  Part one was on Sunday, May 6, when we escorted Sgt. Funcheon from the airport to the mortuary.  Alex's parents were overwhelmed and very appreciative that so many came out that day and waited for the delayed flight to arrive.   Thank you to everyone who showed up despite the rain and serious storm activity.  It was an extremely emotional experience to stand in the hangar and out on the tarmac as the private jet arrived, and to witness the US Army Honor Guard receive the casket as the family stood close by, watching.  It was an honor to escort Alex and his family to the mortuary.
Part two of the mission was on Tuesday, May 8, when our motorcycle flag honor guard escorted Alex's hearse from the mortuary to the church.
Thank you to all the volunteers who provided that escort, again in the rain.
Part three of the mission was the funeral service at the church, followed by the graveside service.  Staging was at the Alef's Harley Davidson dealer in north Wichita.  Dan Alefs, owner, graciously provide hot coffee and donuts, and his dealership facilities to all of us.  Riders from all over Kansas converged and lined up for the ride to the church. Chief John Daily of Bel Aire PD led us from Alefs to the church.  Upon arrival at the church, we lined the sidewalks and entrances with flags and stood guard.  This was a long service, and was attended by many.  In particular, a class of school children from his community arrived who were all pen pals with Alex.  They had adopted him as their soldier.  The Bel Aire community were there in force showing the Funcheon family their love and support.  It was clearly evident that this soldier and family are special to them.  As we drove past Wichita Heights High School where Alex graduated, students stood and held flags and watched.  Graveside services were at the Kechi Cemetery.  We surrounded the service with
Bel Aire Chief John Daily of Bel Aire enlisted the help of Park City, Bel Aire, Kechi, Wichita Police, Sedgwick County Fire Department, and Sedgwick County Sheriffs Department to ensure that the processions to and from the church were safe for everyone.  Capt. F. Norris of the WPD organized her officers and provided traffic control at the busy Wichita intersections.  Bel Aire Lt. Carl Enterkin led us from the church to the Kechi Cemetery.  Sedgwick County Fire Department had fire trucks at intersections along the way, with their booms raised to hang the US flag.  Sedgwick County Sheriffs Department, Park City and Kechi Police also provided traffic control and escort along the way, along with Pro-Service Escort Company.
Bob and Karen Funcheon, Alex's parents, asked that I convey their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you for the support you've shown them this past week and yesterday as you honored their son.  They will remember your selflessness forever.
The Patriot Guard sincerely thanks all the law enforcement agencies involved in this mission, and the fire department for the flag display.  Their efforts to ensure our safe travel were outstanding.  They made our mission safe and successful, with no mishaps along the way.  Thank you to Dan Alefs for his support and for providing us a staging area.
My personal thanks go to the Patriot Guard co-captains, ride captains, road guards, and volunteer honor guards, and to each and every person who supported this Fallen Soldier mission on a day that started out with rain and turned to hot and humid.  Your endurance and passion for supporting our soldiers was tested yesterday, and you didn't falter.  It was an honor to stand with you.  Thank you to Charles Liles, our Patriot Guard bagpiper, for his inspiring music during the funeral and graveside services.
The Patriot Guard extends a very special "thank you" to US Army Sergeant First Class Charles Hilt, the Casualty Assistance Officer who assisted the Funcheon family and was the military liaison who kept the Patriot Guard informed.
The Patriot Guard extends our gratitude to all the soldiers, who like Sgt Alex Funcheon, guard America's front battle line.  Because of our soldiers, America remains free.  God bless Alex, his family and friends, and God bless all our soldiers.
09 May 2007