Funeral Held For Northeast Ohio Native Killed In Afghanistan

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Three Army Rangers were buried Monday, one at Arlington National Cemetery and two in Florida, a week after they died trying to rescue another soldier on the deadliest day for America in the Afghan war.

The Pentagon, damaged in the terror attacks that pushed the nation into war, sat in full view of the more than 100 relatives, friends and comrades of Cpl. Matthew A. Commons of Boulder City, Nev., who gathered at Arlington National Cemetery.

Commons, 21, was the youngest of seven servicemen killed March 4 near Gardez in eastern Afghanistan.

In separate funerals in two Florida cities, Spc. Marc A. Anderson, 30, of Brandon, Fla., and Sgt. Bradley Crose, 22, of Orange Park, Fla., also were praised as courageous soldiers who lived and died by the Ranger Creed -- never leave a fallen comrade behind.

Anderson (pictured, above) grew up in Alliance, Ohio.

"It is a very, very sad time for our family. In the same respect, it is a very, very proud time," said Anderson's father, David, before a funeral Mass for his son at St. Raphael Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. David Anderson was a decorated Ranger who served three tours in Vietnam in the 1960s.

The three soldiers, members of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., died during a nine-hour firefight trying to rescue a Navy Seal.

Rifle volleys rang out at all three funerals. Parents received folded flags from the caskets. The soldiers posthumously were awarded the Bronze Star with valor, Purple Heart and meritorious service medals. Commons also received a promotion.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)