Editorial: Barracks naming is a true honor for late Whitfield County sergeant and his family

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq took a devastating toll on our nation.

More than 6,900 American military members died during the wars and many thousands more were wounded, according to reports.

Several Whitfield County residents died during the wars, including Sgt. Marshall L. Edgerton, who was assigned to a signal battalion with the 82nd Airborne Division at the time of his death in December 2003. Edgerton, a Whitfield County native, was a 1995 graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School where he played football and wrestled.

According to a story in this week's newspaper: "Just days before coalition forces captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Edgerton, 27, boarded a pickup truck with three Iraqis inside to escort them onto a military base in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. According to news reports from the time, Edgerton apparently realized quickly the truck contained a bomb, and his shouts are credited with warning others and keeping the truck from reaching a dining facility full of soldiers. He was the only American killed in the blast. Fourteen others were wounded.

"An investigation would later find the truck had been rigged with four artillery shells weighing about 100 pounds each. The suicide bombs were concealed by the pickup's gas tank."

Edgerton was recently honored by the U.S. Army as new barracks in Ft. Gordon, which is outside Augusta, were named in his honor. The barracks house the Army's signal corps.

This is a tremendous honor for Edgerton and his family, which includes his son Hunter Edgerton, now 23 and himself a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne.

We thank the U.S. Army and everyone involved for helping to continue the memory of one of our fallen soldiers.

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