Alford, Marcus Ray, Sr., CPT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
10 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
15A-Aviation, General
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
2008-2010, 15A, 1st Squadron, 230th Cavalry Regiment
Service Years
2004 - 2010
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Operation Iraqi Freedom



 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 5 Bruce W. Thompson to remember Alford, Marcus Ray, Sr., CPT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Qayyarah, Iraq

Casualty Date
Feb 21, 2010
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
Location of Interment
Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery - Knoxville, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Sec D Site 1577

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
GWOT Fallen
  2013, GWOT Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Basic)

 National Guard Awards

 Unit Assignments
1st Squadron, 230th Cavalry Regiment
  2008-2010, 15A, 1st Squadron, 230th Cavalry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  2010-2010 Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
 Colleges Attended 
  2000-2004, Carson-Newman College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


Graduate of South-Doyle and Carson Newman killed in Iraq crash

A graduate of South-Doyle High School has died in Iraq.

Tennessee's Adjutant General Major General Max Haston confirms that two Tennessee Army National Guard pilots were killed Sunday in a helicopter accident in Iraq.

Captain Marcus Ray Alford, of Knoxville, and Chief Warrant Officer Two Billie Jean Grinder, of Gallatin, were killed when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior made a "hard landing" near Qayyarah Airfield West (Q-West) about 30 miles south of Mosul in Northern Iraq.

No enemy forces were present, and no hostile fire was reported.

The soldiers were assigned to Troop C, 1/230th Air Cavalry in Louisville, Tennessee.

They were part of Task Force Marne, a unit responsible for U.S. Operation in Northern Iraq.

Those who knew him said Marcus Alford had a great sense of humor. He was voted "wittiest senior" at South Doyle High School.

He was battalion commander of the ROTC there, and after he graduated in 2000 Alford made a point to come back and share his experience with students in the ROTC program.

"He had the stamina to endure even though things might not go his way, and he was willing to share that with the kids," South Doyle ROTC's 1st Sgt. Calvin Hartwell said. "He let them know that he struggled to get through things, yet he didn't give up."

Hartwell remembers a mature young man who was enthusiastic and determined.

"He had a rough time in flight school. He had to keep going, keep going," Hartwell said.

Marcus Alford earned an ROTC scholarship to Carson Newman College, where he majored in computer information systems and graduated in 2004.

"He was a natural leader in the way he dealt with people and issues," Associate Professor Bob Terrell said.

He was Alford's primary professor, and remembers an ambitious student who put people at ease.

"Just be the nicest person you'd ever want, then he'd be business if it was business," Terrell said. "A very likable man and a very capable fellow."

His loss is hard for those who taught him.

"Marcus was doing what he wanted to do," Terrell said. "And we trained him and did the best we could with him, and now we'll mourn his passing and be in honor of his life."

Hartwell said, "If you had a son and you could pick him, you'd kind of want him to be Marcus."

Immediate family members were in Dover, Delaware, on Tuesday to greet Alford's remains as his body arrived at Dover Air Force Base.

Jarnigan and Sons in Knoxville is working with Willis Funeral Home in Dalton, Georgia to finalize arrangements.

Family members say Alford will be buried in Knoxville.



KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The southern end of James White Parkway will now be known as the Capt. Marcus Ray Alford, Sr. Memorial Highway.

Capt. Alford died in a helicopter crash in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army. Those who knew him best say the three years since the crash have been long ones.

"He touched so many lives, and we miss him so much," said Alford's mother, Karen Ray.

Ray was among several family members, community leaders and fellow servicemen who came out to dedicate the highway.

"I'm on top of the world right now," said Ray. "This is truly an honor."

The renamed section of the parkway runs from the Tennessee River bridge to Moody Avenue. It connects East Knoxville, where Alford grew up, and South Knoxville, where he attended school and remained a beloved member of the community years later.

"He came back and gave back to the school," said State Rep. Joe Armstrong. "He landed a helicopter in the football field demonstrating and getting kids interested in the military, and going on and advancing their education. He was a role model."

Armstrong was one of the driving forces behind the bill that made the dedication happen.

"There is nothing that we can do to bring back Marcus, but giving some comfort to this family, letting them know he died a hero and that he did make a difference while he was here, and this is one way to continue his memory and continue the work he started," said Armstrong.

"He will always be our hero," added Ray.

With the sign permanently in place, his family says he will always be remembered.

Capt. Alford was only 28 years old when he died. He left behind his mother, father and two young children.


Copyright Inc 2003-2011