May 20, 2009

General Assembly Resolution honors memory of Staff Sgt. Jeremiah E. McNeal

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

WEST POINT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard's 91st Troop Command and 237th Engineer Company hosted a special ceremony May 9 to present a Virginia General Assembly Joint Resolution honoring the memory of Staff Sgt. Jeremiah McNeal. McNeal was killed in action April 6, 2008 while serving in Iraq with the West Point-based 237th Engineer Company.

 

The Honorable Harvey B. Morgan, Delegate from the 98th District, presents the General Assembly Resolution celebrating the life of Staff Sgt. Jeremiah E. McNeal to his widow. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) 

The Honorable Harvey B. Morgan, Delegate from the 98th District, presented the Resolution to McNeal's widow. (See the full text of the resolution below)

The Honorable John Marshall, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety, and Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, paid tribute to McNeal's service and stressed that his sacrifice is a reminder of the dangerous missions Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen undertake while mobilized and deployed overseas.

After the presentation of the Joint Resolution, Spc. Joshua A. Wood, one of McNeal's Soldiers, read a poem he had written after McNeal's death.

"Sergeant"
By Spc. Joshua Adam Wood

I remember you Sergeant
Especially today of all days
The bravery you committed
The cost that you paid
We are all brave men even when we were scared
Still we fought tooth and nail
We worked hard as hell

But I remember you Sergeant
Took me under your wing
Treat me like a brother
Showed us all to connect like a family
Taught us how to be there for one another
You never tried to be a hero
But a hero you are to me

I salute you once again Sergeant
I give you all respects
Your memories will always be engraved in me
I'll honor you in the highest
Your memory won't fade away

I remember you Sergeant
Especially today of all days

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 774

Celebrating the life of Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Emmanuel McNeal.

Agreed to by the House of Delegates, January 23, 2009 Agreed to by the Senate, January 29, 2009

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Emmanuel McNeal, age 23, a resident of Norfolk, was killed in the line of duty on April 6, 2008, while valiantly serving his country in Baghdad, Iraq; and

WHEREAS, Jeremiah McNeal was born in Norfolk on November 16, 1984, the son of Malcolm McNeal and Pamela Gaynor, and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 2002; and

WHEREAS, Jeremiah McNeal worked as a technician for Raytheon in Norfolk, where he was a dedicated member of his department and respected by peers and supervisors alike; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant McNeal enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in August 2002, left his hometown on July 19, 2007, for training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and reported for his second tour of duty in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on September 26, 2007; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant McNeal was an excellent soldier and a team leader, serving with the Virginia Army National Guard’s 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command based in West Point; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant McNeal’s military awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, and Combat Action Badge; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant McNeal was married to the former Nikita Simmons of Norfolk, and was devoted to his wife, their son Jordien, and his many close relatives and wonderful friends; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant McNeal’s death is a reminder of the perils faced daily by the thousands of Americans who serve in our armed forces overseas and whose devotion to duty places them in harm’s way; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of a courageous and patriotic Virginian, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Emmanuel McNeal; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Emmanuel McNeal as an expression of the high regard in which his memory is held by the members of the General Assembly and the citizens of the Commonwealth.

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