Monday, September 03, 2007

Josh Flynn laid to rest

One month before they left for Iraq, chief warrant officers Josh Flynn and Tom Montijo made a promise to each other.

This week, Montijo kept it.

“The pact was to bring each other home safe,” Montijo said. “It never crossed my mind that it would be this way. But I brought him home.”

Montijo landed in Raleigh on Wednesday, he and his wife Lauren mourning alongside the Flynn family.

Flynn was the first person Montijo met at his first duty station on July 5, 2004. They were friends instantly.

“We were inseparable after that,” Montijo said. “He was just that easy of a guy to be friends with.”

Flynn, 28, often stayed with Montijo, 25, and wife Lauren when they were stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. Flynn was a member of their wedding party.

“He was there 24-7,” Montijo said. “These last two years, he practically lived with us. We looked through our pictures and he’s in all of them. We went on all of our snowboarding and skiing trips together.”

In a quiet moment, after the crowds cleared away from the graveside Friday, the Montijos knelt and wept at the casket.

Even in mourning, there is no respite for soldiers like Montijo.

Next week, Montijo will return to Iraq and the danger of war to continue a 12-month tour of duty, memories of his best friend close.

“This whole world is going to miss him,” Montijo said. “He just made the world a brighter place.”

From the Burlington Times

Two sounds pierced the solemn silence inside Gibsonville United Methodist Church on Friday: a careening trumpet solo of “Amazing Grace” and the sobs of a boy who lost his father at war.

Clinging to his mother’s neck, eyes stung red, 6-year-old Morgan Flynn gave voice to the hundreds of mourners gathered to honor the life and sacrifice of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Joshua Flynn.

The crowds filled the sanctuary to bursting and spilled onto the church lawn, those who knew the 28-year-old who had a zeal for life, his family and his friends.

“Josh did what he loved to the fullest and with passion,” said the Rev. Jim Bowen in the eulogy. “He was placed. He did his dreams and his passions. He served our country with dedication and with courage.”

Flynn was “a man I could trust with my life,” a commanding officer wrote in a letter to the family, read aloud. He was liked by all and “was one of the very best soldiers,” the officer added.

“Deleno, you and Patsy have paid a great price for all of us,” Bowen said to Josh Flynn’s father and mother. “If the death of Josh Flynn in service of his country moves us to commit ourselves more fully to the high and noble cause for which he died, then Josh shall not have died in vain.”

Flynn died Aug. 22 along with 13 other soldiers when a mechanical failure caused the Black Hawk helicopter carrying them to crash in northern Iraq. Flynn was on his first tour in Iraq and had been in the Army 10 years. He had been piloting Black Hawk helicopters for several years.

Not all was said through tears.

The congregation laughed at memories of Flynn as a boy, squirming in the church pews and cruising Gibsonville in his Ford Mustang and looking for girls. Bowen recalled Flynn as a boy with a mischievous smile and an “awesome twinkle in his eyes.”

“If Josh had seen such a crowd, he’d be ready for a party,” Bowen said, smiling. “If he could come among us now, he would have us laughing. If we can remember that, our hearts will be lifted.”

Forty members of the Patriot Guard Riders on motorcycles and carrying American flags led the mule-drawn caisson to Gibsonville City Cemetery. On street corners and in yards, residents waved American flags and bowed their heads.

The funeral procession spanned miles and it took more than an hour for the hundreds to assemble at the cemetery.

During a ceremonial graveside service, which included “Taps” and a 21-gun salute for the fallen soldier, Flynn’s family was presented with the Bronze Star. The medal signifies bravery and meritorious service.

Deleno Flynn told the Army general who presented the medal he was proud of his son’s service, and that Josh Flynn would be proud so many attended his funeral.

“General, we raised a child. You made him a man,” Deleno Flynn said.

From the Times News

Related Link:
Josh Flynn remembered

Related Link:
Josh (Paul J.) Flynn dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'