Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Herman J. Murkerson Jr. dies 'while conducting combat operations'

Two local parents are preparing to say goodbye to their oldest son, and the community of Adger is bracing to bury a hero.

35-year-old Gunnery Sergeant Herman Jerome Murkerson, Jr. died October 1st after being shot while fighting in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.

Murkerson had wanted to be a US Marine since he was a teenager.

“Little Jerome" as his family calls him joined the Marine Corps. immediately after high school.

He served in the Corps. for 17 years - including 3 tours to Iraq. His family says Little Jerome's philosophy was "fight the enemy over there, to keep them from coming here."

Herman Jerome Murkerson, Jr. wore many hats: highly decorated marine sergeant, husband, dad of three who loved going to father/daughter dances and coaching soccer.

This 1990 Oak Grove High School graduate is also the oldest of 6 kids.

Murkerson arrived in Iraq for his third tour a month ago. Besides his family and career,
Little Jerome had one other true passion.

"He wanted some Alabama memorabilia to go in his room. He had his own room he was a gunnery sergeant," said Wendy Murkerson.

Murkerson's high school sweetheart and wife Wendy was preparing to mail him Crimson Tide sheets and a matching shower curtain when the family got the news.

Murkerson paid the ultimate price to defend the way of life and country he loved... a sacrifice his family says he doesn't regret.

There's no doubt Murkerson's 35 years touched countless lives around him.

Murkerson's body is scheduled to arrive at the Bessemer Airport Friday evening. The military will be on hand to honor him with a special ceremony. Murkerson's family will then bury him in Adger.

From NBC 13