FT. GORDON, Ga. – Family and friends gathered Tuesday to honor a fallen Army Airman who lost his life in a car accident last week along I-20 in Columbia County.
At a memorial held for Staff Sgt. Alexander Earles, family says they’ve met a completely different life that Alex lived here in Augusta as an Airman. The family made the trip from his home state of Washington to honor his military service, but also to honor his life, as March 14 would have been Alex’s 24th birthday.
As the sound of Taps echoed in Alexander Hall at Fort Gordon, it was the final call for Staff Sgt. Earles. But, Alex’s memory will live on through so many of his family and friends.
During the service in a packed room, family and friends gathered to laugh, cry, and applaud their fallen comrade for the life he lived on and off base.
“Alex Earles was a great number of things to many of us. He was a son, a brother, a wing man in the best sense of that word and above all, he was a loyal friend,” said close friend Dominic Davila.
It was two families, military and blood, joined together as one to thank each other for raising a wonderful person who’s life was selflessly lived.
Alex’s brother, John, took to the stage to speak on behalf of the Earles family. John says it was part of a pact he made with Alex when they were little boys.
“At a very young age we had an agreement that Alex and I would speak at each other’s wedding, as each other’s best men. So in that, whether this be the Lord’s timing as it was, I had to get prepared to do so. So, it was an honor to speak on behalf of my family,” said Alex’s brother, John Earles.
Besides family and friends, faith in Christ also took center stage. Alex’s family says that’s what they relied on when coming to terms with Alex’s death, the way Alex relied on his faith help serve his country each day.
“He said to us, the reason he wanted to make this step is because he felt it was God’s purpose. And on that basis, as a decision, we could support that,” said Alex’s father, Patrick Earles.
In the Bible, Romans 9:13 speaks on forgiveness. It’s this passage that leads Alex’s family to believe that Alex would have forgiven the man accused of taking his life.
But on Alex’s birthday, there was little mention of the day he died, but instead, the almost 24 years he spent here on earth.
Alex received a number of awards and decorations during his time in the Airforce. At Alex’s memorial, his parents received one last medal in his honor.
Juan Jesus Castillo-Reyes is in jail at the Columbia County Detention Center in connection with Alex Earles’ death. Castillo-Reyes is facing several charges including 1st Degree Vehicular Homicide.