'Natural leader': Unit pays respects to Pfc. Britt
Pvt. Inday Jordan, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, renders a final salute during the memorial service for Pfc. Jamal Britt Tuesday at Bayonet Chapel.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Brigade gathered at Fort Jackson's Bayonet Chapel Tuesday afternoon to reflect on a faithful comrade who was an inspiration to many of them.

"Pfc. Britt was a fighter. He fought until the end," Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy Oates -- a drill sergeant - told the Soldiers and guests who filled the chapel.

Oates said he was with Pfc. Jamal Britt during his final hours in the hospital on Oct. 7. Britt was taken to Moncrief Army Community Hospital and Providence Northeast Hospital in Columbia after he collapsed during an Army Physical Fitness Test.

There were numerous stories of how Britt quoted the Bible and personified the unwavering walk of a Christian.

One fellow Soldier in training recounted how Britt started a Bible study class in the unit "that still goes on."

Another, Pvt. Cassi Cooper, spoke of his "brightest smile." She added: "He told us of God's plans for us ... he (Britt) changed my life. He was an angel."

Other Soldiers described him as being righteous and a good man. The last training Soldier to speak from Britt's unit, Pvt. Antonio Dildy, serenaded his memory with a rendition of "His Eye is On the Sparrow."

"He was a natural leader," said Lt. Col. Benjamin Higginbotham, battalion commander. "He was an example of the best our nation has to offer. ... He was the kind of son that every parent would be proud of."

Page last updated Thu October 15th, 2009 at 08:40