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Army Pfc. Matthew C. Colin
Died November 16, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
22, of Navarre, Fla.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 16 in Panjawai district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Spc. James R. Burnett Jr.
Fallen soldier laid to rest
By Travis Griggs
Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal
NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. — Seven honor guard rifles cracked a salute in the distance. The gunshots echoed briefly before being carried away on a brisk fall wind.
A bugler sounded the first notes of "Taps," sending sniffles and sobs cascading through the crowd of mourners gathered at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Nov. 29.
"Honor. Duty. Country."
The honor guard commander shouted those words as he clutched a sharply folded flag from the casket bearing the remains of Army Pfc. Matthew Colin, 22, of Navarre.
More than 200 people crowded into a Barrancas National Cemetery pavilion where Colin received full military burial honors.
His parents, Ken and Kathy Colin, sat quietly beside their son's casket during the service.
Colin was killed Nov. 16 by a roadside bomb while patrolling near Kandahar, Afghanistan. A 2007 graduate of Navarre High School, Colin was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
At noon, scores of vehicles accompanied Colin on his final ride from Naval Aviation Memorial Chapel to Barrancas National Cemetery.
Dozens of military personnel, police and firemen stood alongside the road saluting as the funeral procession passed.
A massive American flag was suspended over the cemetery entrance by fire truck booms. Other base flags flew at half-staff in the fallen soldier's honor.
Family members described Colin as an athlete, an avid outdoorsman and a proud soldier, unafraid to heed his country's call.
Army Maj. Gen. John Peabody presided over the funeral and presented the American flag that had draped the casket to Colin's parents.
Peabody said a few words about their son's bravery and sacrifice. He presented them with their son's medals, which included a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a Good Conduct Medal and others.
After the casket was lowered into the ground, Ken and Kathy Colin stepped away from their son's grave for a quiet moment.
Arms around each other, they stared out across the rows of white grave markers, which stretched for what seemed miles across the cemetery's rolling hills.
Then they turned and walked slowly away, leaving their son at his place in a field of heroes.