KILLEEN - A Navy Sailor and Shoemaker High School graduate killed in the collision of the USS John S. McCain August was laid to rest Thursday.
Friends and family paid their final respects to 20-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class John Hoagland III at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Killeen.
“When he was on a ship, when he was looking at the open sea that is why he chose the Navy over the other branches is the place you get to go,” Greg Reese, US Navy Lieutenant said. “the experiences you get to have, the view of looking out to the open ocean, the deep sea blue colors.
John Hoagland is the first JROTC Shoemaker graduate to be killed in active duty. He is described by his former teachers as a great citizen. Hoagland's Algebra teacher Tamara Cutbirth said the community will miss him.
“It was kind of unbelievable, kind of unexpected, don’t expect it to happen to someone so young,” Cutbirth said.
She said he is remembered as a scholar athlete leader, an enthusiastic go getter, beloved by many.
Veterans organizations payed their respects to one of their own. Marc George, Christian Motorcycles Association Local President has participated in at least 50 ceremonies, but this one tugs a little closer at the heart.
“Well my son is in the Navy and my son went to boot camp with him and I just found this out a week ago,” George said.
Staff Sergeant Petagray Jones, of Team Red, White and Blue Outreach Organization said it is unfortunate what happened and they hope the family continues to keep their spirits uplifted and know their service member is in a better place.
Watch the full service below:
© 2017 KCEN-TV