Families Bury Soldiers Killed in Panama Invasion With PM-Panama, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ A 19-year-old Illinois soldier killed in the U.S. invasion of Panama was remembered today as a man who ″believed in what he was doing,″ as his family and friends gathered for his funeral.
More than 250 mourners attended a service at Moline, Ill., for Army Pfc. Scott Lee Roth, one of 23 U.S. servicemen killed in the invasion to oust Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega.
The service for Roth was held one day after six soldiers killed in the Panama action were buried in services around the country, with mourners honoring their dedication to an effort that ″silenced an evil regime.″
More than 40 military men in uniform attended today’s service for Roth.
″This is a man who wanted to be a soldier, loved being a soldier and he believed in what he was doing,″ said Army Lt. Col. Robert C. Pearson, a chaplain at the Rock Island Arsenal.
Roth’s wife, Mary - his high school sweetheart who enlisted with him after graduation - attended the service with her family and a military escort.
Among those buried Thursday was Spec. Alejandro L. Manriquelozano, the first of the dead from the invasion to be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Manriquelozano, 30, was buried with military honors - including three rifle volleys and the playing of ″Taps″ - in snow-covered ground at Arlington within sight of the Capitol and Washington Monument.
Manriquelozano, a naturalized American citizen from Peru who lived in Lauderhill, Fla., was an anti-tank gunner with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry, of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Manriquelozano’s sister, Luz, who flew to Washington for the funeral with other family members from Lima, Peru, told reporters, ″We are proud of him, because he always wanted to be an American. His desire is fulfilled.″
Col. James D. Weiskopf, public affairs officer of the Army Military District of Washington, said Manriquelozano was the first of the 23 servicemen listed as killed in Panama whose family had requested burial at Arlington, although all are eligible.
In Great Falls, Mont., Gov. Stan Stephens was among the nearly 300 mourners at the funeral of Pvt. 2 Vance Troy Coats, who died when a grenade exploded in a Panama City neighborhood Dec. 20.
″His courageous commitment has silenced an evil regime,″ Stephens said. ″Thank you Troy Coats. Farewell son of Montana. Rest in peace.″
In the northern Wisconsin logging community of Conover, hundreds of friends and relatives honored Pfc. John Mark Price, an Army paratrooper from the 75th Rangers who would have turned 23 on Christmas Eve.
In a tear-filled eulogy attended by about 400 people at the Evangelical Free Church, Tom Dillahunt, a close friend of Price, held up a snapshot of the soldier.
″He was the gung-ho type, the energy behind any plans that were made,″ Dillahunt said. ″He died doing what he loved best, being a soldier. He died to protect us.″
Another Army Ranger, 19-year-old Pfc. Roy Brown Jr., was buried in Orange, Calif., and mourners were asked to lay the blame for his death on Manuel Antonio Noriega, the deposed Panamanian dictator.
″Let us criticize the Noriegas, let us criticize the drug lords ... and let us criticize those that would endanger our freedom,″ Pastor Wiley Drake told more than 250 mourners.
In Pennsylvania, several hundred mourners overflowed the United Methodist Church of Hallstead for the funeral of a third Ranger, Staff Sgt. Larry R. Barnard, 29.
″He was a guy who really believed in what he was doing,″ said the Rev. Keith Benjamin, ″and believed in doing it right.″
Barnard formerly belonged to the 82nd Airborne Division and served in the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
In Abilene, Texas, hundreds of relatives and friends turned out for the funeral of native son Pfc. Martin D. Denson, 21, an infantryman.
Denson was buried at Elmwood Memorial Park with full military honors and a 21-gun salute.