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Wake held for Wibberley

October 20, 2000

Wake held for Wibberley



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


Hundreds of mourners passed through St. John's Episcopal Church in Hagerstown Friday evening to pay their respects to the family of USS Cole sailor Craig Wibberley.

The 19-year-old Williamsport native was killed in the Oct. 12 bombing of the Navy destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen. Funeral services will be held today.

Military veterans and scores of the fallen seaman's friends and family members filed to the front of the church to console his parents, Thomas and Patricia Wibberley, and his sister, Toni.

Some mourners paused to touch the seaman apprentice's flag-draped casket.

Dozens of young adults, some wearing yellow ribbons that read, "In memory of Craig," attended the viewing. Tears streamed down some of the young mourners' cheeks as they looked at a collage of photographs taken of Wibberley throughout his life.

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One snapshot captured him as a smiling young wrestler. Another showed him embracing his parents in front of the USS Cole. Many photos featured Wibberley with his sister and surrounded by friends.

Several U.S. Marines flanked the sailor's coffin, and a Navy seaman stood at the rear of the church.

Wibberley's funeral services will be held at St. John's at noon. He will then be buried at St. Mark's Episcopal Church Cemetery at Lappan's Crossroads. Navy officials will serve as pallbearers.

Funeral information was not available Friday for Fireman Apprentice Patrick Roy, 19, of Keedysville, who also was killed on the USS Cole.

The Associated Press reported the last four bodies recovered from the Cole on Thursday were prepared Friday to be flown back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Del.

"We have not been given exact word as to when they will arrive, but we are preparing to receive them this weekend," said Maj. Frank Smolinsky, chief of public affairs for Dover Air Force Base.

The Roy and Wibberley families attended Wednesday's memorial service in Norfolk, Va., for the 17 sailors killed on the USS Cole. President Clinton met with both families.

Wibberley and Roy enlisted just six days apart, Wibberley on July 22, 1999 in Baltimore, Roy on July 28 in Albany, N.Y.

They weren't friends before they joined the military, but they became shipmates.

They were lining up for lunch in the mess hall when last Thursday's explosion occurred.

Staff writer Scott Butki and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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