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Local members of the U.S. armed forces

flagWGNO honors our local members of the armed forces.

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Monday morning, Governor Bobby Jindal joined the friends and family of Christopher Drake, the Louisiana National Guardsman who was killed in Afghanistan over the Memorial Day weekend, for Drake’s funeral.

Jindal told the crowd at the Eagle Heights Community Church in Tickfaw to remember Drake as a hero who gave his life in service for others.

The governor also told the crowd that part of what made Drake a hero was the guardsman’s family.

“To the friends and family that are here, I want to thank you on behalf of a grateful state and a grateful country for raising such a fine young man.  Because heroes aren’t simply born; they are raised, they are formed,” Jindal told the crowd.

He also gave Drake’s family a flag that flew over the Capitol building in Drake’s honor.

Drake was killed when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.


Specialist Chris Drake Laid To Rest Monday

On the North Shore family and friends of Specialist Chris Drake will say their final farewells Monday.

Drake’s funeral is open to the public. The service is scheduled to start at 11am at Eagle Heights Church in Tickfaw.

On Tuesday Drake’s body arrived in Hammond. He was killed last week in Afghanistan by a rocket-propelled grenade. Chris Drake was only 20-years-old.

A soldier killed in Afghanistan has returned home for the last time. The body of 20-year-old Specialist Chris Drake arrived this morning at the Hammond airport.

Dozens of people lined the road as a procession took his remains from the airport to a funeral home in Livingston Parish. Services will be held next week for the Tickfaw native.

Drake died last Sunday. He was a gunner on a vehicle hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

A soldier from Tickfaw, Louisiana was killed serving our country in Afghanistan.

Spc. Christopher Drake died May 26 when his vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

The Louisiana National Guard soldier was assigned to a unit based out of Reserve.

Drake was a gunner on a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle.

He was 20-years-old.



(From the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE) – The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20, of Tickfaw, La., died May 26, in Bagram, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade.  He was assigned to the 1084th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 139th Regional Support Group, Reserve, La.

CHALMETTE, LA (WGNO) – For some, Memorial day weekend is about heading to the beach or barbecues.  For others it’s about remembering those who died while fighting for our freedom.

This weekend thousands of American flags decorated the Chalmette National Cemetery.  Volunteers place flags at every headstone where troops who served in conflicts ranging from The War of 1812 to the Vietnam War were buried.  In all, over 15,000 troops have been laid to rest at the cemetery.

Memorial Day is about saluting the soldiers.  Honoring those freedom-fighters who are still with us like Navy Vietnam Veteran, Bob Carambat.

“If it wasn’t for the Veterans people wouldn’t have half the stuff that we have today,”  Carambat said.

Bob’s Wife, Maxine Carambat said, “It hits your heart so hard to know that they made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Paying tribute to those heroes who died in the line of duty, like Bertrand Medine Jr. is also what Memorial Day is about.

His sister, Melissa Medine said, “We wish we would still have him here with us today.  He gave his life for our country.  We always think of him.  We miss him.  We love him, and thank him for what he did.”


Memorializing past soldiers at Chalmette Battlefield

They’re getting ready for Memorial Day the Chalmette National Cemetery.

Volunteers spruced up the graves of the 12,000 veterans buried there.

They planted a flag at every gravesite, which included veterans of every American war from the War of 1812 to Vietnam.

The cemetery is next to the site of the Battle of New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson and his out-numbered American forces defeated the British in 1815.

The battlefield will commemorate Memorial Day with events starting Saturday at 11 a.m., including musket drills and re-creations of what life was like during the early 1800’s in south Louisiana.

Click here for more information about the Chalmette Battlefield.

News with a Twist

Women in combat

The Pentagon announced Thursday that women would be allowed to fight with men in combat.  The United States joins our Israeli allies and many other armed militaries around the world that let women fight with men on the front lines.

Generally speaking, the average man is bigger, stronger, and more physical than the average woman; but we aren’t talking about “the average” when we are talking about highly trained combat soldiers. These women, like the men, would be the exception, not the norm.

Not everybody is suited for military combat but obviously some people are, including women.  It’s more about choice and the fair chance of advancement than women fighting at the front of a war.  Women in our military deserve the same consideration as the men, and that includes the same chances for promotion.  Not restricting female military will help accomplish that goal.

Honestly, in 2013 America how can you tell an adult woman that she is not allowed to do something that a man is allowed to do? Not allowed?!?  Let each individual decide.

If a woman can meet or exceed the prerequisites of being a combat soldier, who are we to tell her she can’t fight?


Fallen Marine comes home: honoring Sgt. Michael Guillory

The body of Sgt. Michael Guillory, 28, a Marine from Pearl River who was killed in Afghanistan, is arrived in New Orleans on Thursday.

Friends, family and dozens of others, including sympathetic veterans gathered to welcome home Sgt. Guillory’s body at Armstrong International Airport.

When his body arrived in New Orleans dozens of veterans stood at attention, including Vietnam veteran David Vicknair: “I served three years in Vietnam, three tours. I came home. This soldier is not coming home, and my heart is broken. I feel very sad.”

His body was taken by police escort to Honaker Funeral Home in Slidell, where well-wishers lined Gause Boulevard to remember Sgt. Guillory as the procession passed.

The U.S. Military has not released many details about the circumstances of Sgt. Guillory’s death, except that it happened in Helmand Province, perhaps the most troubled region of Afghanistan, where the Taliban has been making their presence known.