Published Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fallen graduate honored at Flint River Academy

From Staff Reports

Flint River Academy honored POW-MIAs and dedicated a memorial to one of its graduates, Benjamin Blake “Trey” Bartlett, in a Sept. 14 ceremony in Woodbury.

SPC Bartlett, a member of the FRA class of 2000, was killed in Iraq in 2007. At Flint River Academy, Bartlett was active in High Y and Key Club and a four-sport athlete who played basketball, baseball, golf and football. The event honoring his memory preceded and continued throughout a Flint River football game.

Bartlett was on FRA’s Debate Team and Science Bowl Team and was active in both Woodland Baptist Church and Manchester First United Methodist Church. He lost his adoptive mother, Ann, to a rare form of lymphoma when he was in third grade and his sister – who suffered from another rare complication – when he was 16.

After graduation, Trey attended Auburn University and in 2005 joined the United States Army. He was assigned to the HHC 4th Brigade in Ft. Bliss, TX, and was deployed to Iraq in November of 2006. Bartlett’s father, Ben, died of a heart attack the next spring.

On July 15, 2007, Bartlett was killed by a direct hit from a missile-propelled grenade. He was laid to rest in Woodland on July 24, 2007, with full military honors. Bartlett received the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. Posthumously, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Badge and Weapons Expert Badge.

His aunt, Beth Loftin, uncle, Lee Bartlett, and cousins as well as his friends remembered him as as a very happy young man who always wore a smile.

The memorial presentation, emceed by Clint Flynn and sponsored by the American Airlines Veterans Initiative, honored SPC Bartlett and other service people taken prisoner or missing in conflict. A POW-MIA flag was parachuted in by Ltc. Stuart Metcalfe and raised before the home opening football game.

Nearly 100 members of The Patriot Guard – a group of motorcyclists whose mission is to “show sincere respect for fallen heroes, their families, and their communities and to shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors” – flanked Walker Chandler as he played bagpipes.

Col. Stuart Mosbey led a flyover by Russian Yak-52 trainers, and Bartlett’s fellow Class of 2000 graduate Catherine Hurst performed the National Anthem. A North American T-6 flyby led by Capt. Connie Bowlin followed the National Anthem.

At halftime, members of the Class of 2000 joined Bartlett’s surviving family on the 50-yard line to present them with an American flag and a memorial marker built by Gary Jones of Manchester. The presentation was made by Flint River Academy Board Chairman Pat McGinn; FRA Head of School Michele Purvis; and POW LtC. Ron Mastin.

Other on-field guests included Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, Rep. Debbie Buckner, Rep Randy Nix-USAF Vet, and Rep. John Yates-WWII Vet. The Georgia Army National Guard Band played Taps and honored SPC Bartlett with a 21-gun salute.

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