Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Green Beret Shawn McCloskey Honored At Funeral

By Green Beret Shawn McCloskey Honored At Funeral | Published October 15, 2009

Women, children, men, families stood outside their cars, some with hands over their hearts, as police with ramrod straight salutes paid their respects to the soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

The 33-year-old was buried Saturday, Sept. 26, in Peachtree City’s Westminster Memorial Gardens after a funeral Mass at St. Matthew Church, Tyrone, where Father Victor Galier reminded the tearful crowd in his eulogy that McCloskey had “gone home,” although the pain of his loss remains raw.

“Today, though are hearts are heavy, we know Shawn is very much always in our hearts and in the communion of saints,” said Father Galier.

The Tyrone church was the same place that McCloskey and his wife, Jessica, were married in 2003.

“He didn’t boast about anything. He was always helpful. He was always willing to give 110 percent to his friends. He was a guy’s guy,” Jessica McCloskey said in a phone interview from her North Carolina home. He was a big fan of the Fighting Irish football team, although he never went to Notre Dame.

She said the show of support from the community, from people standing by their cars to people at the church, helped her on the worst day of her life.

“That was so overwhelming,” she said.

Their romance had taken hold when she worked at a home improvement store and since he worked in the construction business, McCloskey found excuses to go to the store for projects.

After working in the construction trade for a few years, McCloskey joined the Army as many men and women did after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He earned the elite Green Beret as a member of the Special Forces in May 2004.

McCloskey, a native of Hudson, N.Y., who had lived in Peachtree City, died on Sept. 16 in the Afghan city of Ghur Ghuri the day after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive while on combat patrol.

The Special Forces intelligence sergeant deployed to Afghanistan in July as part of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based in Fort Bragg, N.C. It was his third deployment there, the Army reported.

He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal, among other citations.

His wooden casket was carried from the hearse to the grave by six Green Berets.

His widow and their two young children, along with his parents, Patrick and Kathryn McCloskey of Fayetteville, his sister and scores of friends attended the funeral.

The family sat close to the wooden casket. His wife and his mother each received folded flags in McCloskey’s memory.

Soldiers fired three rifle volleys and a serviceman played Taps during the graveside service.