Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The homecoming of Sgt. James Harold Alley

Tim Alley, a 36-year-old paramedic in Arcadia, plans to fly to Hawaii on May 4 to accompany the remains of his brother, James Harold Alley, home to Arcadia.

Sgt. Alley was just 22 when his Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopter was shot down near Quang Tri, Vietnam. All six souls on board were killed. The ship was taking part in a rescue operation for a downed Air Force pilot.

The legendary search-and-rescue effort was documented in several books and in at least one major motion picture.

It wasn't until February that a positive ID was made on Sgt. Alley's remains.

"One of the things that bothered my dad was that a positive ID of his remains had not been made. He felt like he still didn't know," Tim Alley said.

Unfortunately, Harold Alley died three years ago at age 76, never knowing.

Tim Alley expects to return to Fort Myers with his brother's remains on May 7 and then return to Arcadia, where the funeral is set for 1:30 p.m. May 8 at Oakridge Cemetery.

Several persons who were touched by this story expressed interest in attending the funeral. Would it be OK, even though they never knew James Harold or his family?

Tim Alley says, absolutely. It's a homecoming.

"My aunts and uncles are glad there is finally some closure," Tim said.

Tim never knew his older brother. Sgt. Alley was killed before Tim was born. But his example of service and sacrifice inspired Tim in his life, and led him to become a paramedic.

Godspeed, Tim, in your journey to bring James Harold home.


Read the full story here.

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