Marker dedicated for fallen Gladewater soldier - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Marker dedicated for fallen Gladewater soldier


An East Texas family gives a final honor to a native son who fell in the line of duty serving in Afghanistan. Army Chief Warrant Officer Bradley Gaudet, 31, of Gladewater was killed when his helicopter went down June 5 of last year in Afghanistan. In a ceremony at Gladewater cemetery, a one-of-a-kind marker was unveiled at the grave site of officer Bradley Gaudet.

"It's taken about seven months for this to be put together," says Bradley's mother Rhonda Owens.

His family wanted to give him a lasting honor for his importance to them and his country.

"Brad was very capable and talented in a lot of different ways," says stepfather Scott Owens.

"He was a good husband and father, and he was a good son," says Rhonda.

The 1,500 pound marker bears the outline of his home state of Texas, something Gaudet was endlessly proud of.

"Brad had been very proud that he was a Texan, he let everybody know it, even as far as Afghanistan. When he flew helicopters, the helmet he wore in that chopper had the Texas flag on it," Rhonda adds.

His Kiowa helicopter went down in action against Taliban forces. As his body was brought home, thousands of East Texans lined  Highway 80 to honor him.

"The people who honored him, it shows this is the best little town and the best people in the country," Scott says.

"They're gone but not forgotten, so while it's still a very hard thing it's still a great thing that he didn't die in vain. He gave it all that he had and he never quit," Rhonda says.

He leaves behind a wife Ginny, and two daughters, Tealie and Addyson, still hurting over his loss.

"I'm proud to say he did die a hero," adds Rhonda.

Around 70 people attended the memorial. From friends and family, to residents of Gladewater who just wanted to pay their respects.

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Chief Warrant Officer Gaudet laid to rest on Monday

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