Photo by Elaine Rackley
The body of U.S. Army PFC Brandon D. Goodine lay in repose at Haisten Funeral Home in McDonough. The slain solider was killed in action on June 7, in Afghanistan. Brandon, 20, was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
Thousands paid tribute to Army Pfc. Brandon Goodine. Patriotic and heavy-hearted, they lined miles of roadways to give their final respects to the young soldier and father — and on Father’s Day weekend, no less.
Dwayne Goodine buried his 20-year-old son Monday.
“We know we are going to see him again someday in Heaven,” said Dwayne Goodine, lamenting his son’s death.
Brandon Goodine died June 7, when insurgents attacked the unit’s patrol with an improvised explosive device in the Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan. He was a paratrooper assigned to Bravo Troop, 73rd Cavalry of the 82nd Airborne stationed out of Fort Bragg, N.C. It was his first deployment to Afghanistan since joining the Army on May 2, 2011.
The private’s body of was escorted Saturday, from Falcon Field Airport in Peachtree City, to Haisten Funeral Home in McDonough.
Residents and visitors of the Southern Crescent looked on as the soldier’s remains were preceded by local law enforcement in a procession that included members of the Patriot Guard Riders. Their polished bikes were adorned with American flags.
“The procession for Pfc. Goodine was both heartbreaking and heartwarming,” said Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis, chairman of the Henry County Board of Commissioners.
“Heartbreaking because a young man will not be coming home to his child and his family, and heartwarming because of the love and support Henry Countians showed today as they honored this fallen hero,” Mathis continued. “Certainly, our thoughts and prayers, as well as our gratitude as Americans, are with this family.”
Mathis was among the onlookers Saturday, which included 100 motorcycle riders from the “Cruisin’ for a Cause Motorcycle Ride” fund-raiser benefiting the non-profit Shining Light Ministries, Inc., in memory of Brittany [Sparks].”
A massive crowd congregated at Truett’s Grill on Jonesboro Road in McDonough, to begin the bike ride. Charity organizers were informed their start time would be delayed to honor Goodine’s motorcade traveling along Jonesboro Road.
Some of the riders and volunteers of the event poured onto the intersections of Jonesboro Road and Mill Road. Others gathered along the median of Jonesboro Road, and a few stood in front of Henry Town Center to wave flags and salute the motorcade as it passed by.
“Being an Army veteran, I feel honored to be able to witness someone returning home that has given their life for this country,” said William Belcher.
Jack Turner joined other members of Hampton First Baptist Church Faith Riders, who rode in the Shining Light Ministries fund-raiser and paid tribute to Goodine. “It is an honor to be able to pay respect to a fallen solider, who gave his life to protect the freedoms that we have,” said the faith rider.
The U.S. Army Fort Gordon Honor Guard Team served as pallbearers for Goodine’s body. They carried the body from the plane at Falcon Field in Peachtree City into the Haisten Funeral Home hearse, for the procession to McDonough. Once the motorcade reached the funeral home, the guard team carried the body from the hearse into the funeral home.
“It is an emotional experience, when we are doing something like this, because you feel like you have lost a brother at arms,” said Staff Sgt. James Brandon, of the honor guard team. “Even though you don’t know that specific person. You do know someone who died over in Afghanistan or Iraq and it reminds you of them.
Brandon said Goodine was the first person killed in action for his honor guard unit to serve as pallbearers. “The others were veterans or retired [personnel],” said Brandon.
“It reminds me of the saying, ‘all gave some, and some gave all,’ ” said Staff Sgt. Joqquin Spikes, another member of the U.S. Army Fort Gordon Honor Guard Team.
Goodine is survived by his wife, Nicole Goodine, of Fayetteville, N.C.; daughter, Katy Goodine, of Sharpsburg, Ga.; mother, Mandy A. (Joey McIntosh) Watson, of McDonough; father, Dwayne (Angela) Goodine, of Hogansville; siblings, Jennifer Lee, Christopher Goodine, Hailey Brooke McLaughlin and Destinee Nicole Watson.
As reported by the 82nd Airborne Division, the paratrooper’s service and death in service earned him the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
Goodine was a 2010 graduate of Henry County High School and former cadet in its Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Program.
Goodine was laid to rest Monday afternoon, in Haisten/Eastlawn Memorial Park in McDonough.