By Rick Bannan / email@example.com
The regular series of memorial ceremonies for Clark County soldiers who died while serving overseas brought their final service to Battle Ground to honor one of the city’s dead.
On September 21, local military appreciation groups held a ânever to forgetâ ceremony at the Battle Ground War Memorial in Kiwanis Park for US Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonah McClellan. McClellan is one of 15 Clark County servicemen killed in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The never-to-forget ceremonies, hosted by the Patriot Guard Riders, the Community Military Appreciation Committee and U.S. Veterans, began in 2018, according to Captain Lynn Vaughn of the Patriot Guard Riders Southwest Washington Ride.
McClellan received a memorial service three years earlier, which was hosted by the Clark County Veterans War Memorial at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
This year, the ceremony moved closer to home at the Battle Ground Memorial, which displays the names of six from the city who died overseas.
Born in 1983 in Duluth, Minnesota, McClellan graduated from Summit View High School in 2002. He joined the United States military the following year. McClellan, who attended flight school, arrived in Afghanistan with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in 2010.
On September 21 of the same year, McClellan’s Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Qalat, Afghanistan. Only one of the 10 servicemen on board survived, Vaughn said.
McClellan received numerous awards during his time in the military, including the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Army Medal of Honor, among others.
McClellan’s family received an engraving of his name from the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseille, Illinois.
In a statement, McClellan’s family said he enjoys flying and is honored to serve in the military. McClellan was a member of the Ancient Lutheran Apostolic Church and his faith was of the utmost importance, his family said.
âYou were so selfless and so strong in your faith,â the family statement read. âYou let your light shine everywhere you went and were such a great example to those you know. ”
Wendy Campbell, mother of Andrew Shields, another member of the military killed in Afghanistan, addressed the family at the event, citing shared experiences as the two were close to someone who was killed during a war.
âIt takes a special kind of family to be able to raise a hero, to be the parent of the hero, to be the spouses of the heroes,â said Campbell. “And then sending our heroes to war, there is nothing more honorable than doing that.”