Patriots line North Carolina roadways to honor fallen Marine

Sgt. Joseph J. Murray

By MIKE MCHUGH | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: July 27, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A MARSOC Raider who died along with 14 other Marines and one Navy Corpsman when the KC-130T aircraft on which they were on crashed in LeFlore County, Mississippi, on July 10, returned to Jacksonville escorted by a contingent from the North Carolina Patriot Guard Riders Wednesday.

The remains of Sgt. Joseph Murray arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Wednesday afternoon where his family, representatives from Jones Funeral Home and 26 motorcyclists from the NCPGR formed a procession for the 135 mile ride down Interstate 40 and through towns along N.C. 24 including Beulaville, Richlands on their way to Jacksonville.

Ed, "Gunner" Faude, Southeastern district captain for NCPGR, said the ride was "overwhelming" from the moment Murray's family reunited with the MARSOC Raider near the tarmac of RDU and as the procession motored through small towns.

"Coming into Richlands and seeing all the people with flags brought tears to this old Jarhead's face," Faude said at the conclusion of the ride while standing in the parking lot of Jones Funeral Home. Faude served 23 years in the USMC, retiring as a chief warrant officer four in 1994.

Dozens of people waited hours in the hot, late afternoon sun to pay their respects, from 11-month old Noah Hershner, whose father Matt knew Murray while working as a civil servant aboard Camp Lejeune, to Vietnam Veteran John Kopp and his significant other Tammie Burnette who came because "a Marine was coming home so we came out to pay our respects," Kopp said.

Hershner remembers Murray as a "good guy" who was always motivated.

"He was that guy that made everyone else work hard like him," he said.

Murray, 26, was born in El Toro, California on Dec. 28, 1990 and graduated from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Fla. Murray lived with his family in Sneads Ferry prior to his death.

Funeral services for Murray have not been announced.

Contact Reporter Mike McHugh at mike.mchugh@jdnews.com.

©2017 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)
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