Memorial for slain Konnarock soldier set   

From Staff Reports

  DAMASCUS, Va. -- Residents from across Southwest Virginia are expected to gather Wednesday at Holston High School to remember Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington, the Konnarock soldier who died last week in a mortar attack in Baghdad.
  The funeral is set for 6 p.m. in the school auditorium. Burial is set for Thursday morning in Azen Baptist Church Cemetery.
  Pennington, 36, joined the Army upon graduation from Holston High in 1986, then re-enlisted in 1996. He had been living at Fort Hood, Texas, for the past year and serving in Iraq since March.
  Army officers told Pennington's family that he died June 21 while evacuating his men from their camp inside one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces in Baghdad. Three other soldiers were also killed.
  Just the day before, Pennington had called his father to wish him a happy Father's Day.
  Wednesday's service will include a video tribute to Pennington, along with a rendition of the national anthem, funeral director Todd Garrett said.
  Army Capt. Todd Cavalier, a family friend who recently returned from Iraq, is scheduled to speak.
  The family will receive friends after the service until 9 p.m.
  Garrett said he hopes to see the 600-seat auditorium packed.
  "We expect it to be full and then some," he said. "We hope everyone will support this family. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more."
  Family and friends will gather at the school Thursday at 10 a.m. and proceed along state Route 91 and U.S. Highway 58 to the cemetery on Azen Road in Konnarock, not far from the home where Pennington grew up.
  Burial will follow at 11 a.m. Soldiers from Fort Lee, Va., will serve as pallbearers and provide full military honors.