By Glenn Collins
Friday, October 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Senior Airman Mark Forester, USAF, 29 years old, Haleyville High School Class of 1999, was laid to rest with full military honors Thursday afternoon. Forester was killed in action September 29 in Afghanistan while embedded with a Green Beret (Army Special Forces) Team, which lost two members in the same battle.
The high school gymnasium began filling up at 1 PM with family members, residents, dignitaries, Air Force personnel from Pope Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field (including the Special Assistant to the Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command), Army Special Forces Soldiers, Alabama National Guard members and others.
The memorial service at the gymnasium was followed by a procession to Winston Memorial Cemetery. Residents again lined the streets to pay their respects to this hero. The procession passed Lakeland Community Hospital before the final vehicle had left the school.
At the cemetery, full military honors included the presentation of the flag to the family, a 21-gun salute, "Taps" and an Air Force fly by in the “Missing Man” formation. Emotions rose again, especially for the military veterans present, as members of Forester's unit, the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, walked up to his casket in groups of three, touched the casket, then saluted.