HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The family of a Tennessee Valley soldier who disappeared in British waters a year and a half ago says grieving their loved one won’t stop anytime soon.
The U.S. Army declared Lieutenant Colonel Mary Ewing dead in June 2011. The soldier’s family held funeral weeks later. Divers found Ewing’s body in August 2012. Ewing’s family is planning another funeral.
Lt. Col. Ewing’s family felt a renewed hurt last week in September 2012.
“My dad actually read about it online, from a British newspaper and the U.S. Army hadn’t said anything to us,” said Brianna Jackson.
Jackson’s father heard British divers made a discovery.
“It wasn’t a week after they found her, that my dad had gone to the U.S. Army asking what’s up and we were told they found a body,” added Jackson.
Jackson’s family did not get any answers, but did receive some advice.
“It was kind of like a don’t get your hope up type of thing because they had to do DNA testing to figure out if it was her,” added Jackson.
British officials confirmed the body found off Lulworth Banks in England was Jackson’s mother.
“For most of the family, like my dad, they were all saying let it please be her. This will finally give them the closure they’ve been looking for,” added Jackson.
The U.S. Army agreed on September 11, 2012 the body was Jackson’s mom. Jackson had hoped for something different.
“To me, my mom was invincible; I never thought anything bad could have happened to her. I liked the idea of imagining she was on a beach,” added Jackson.
Lt. Col. Ewing leaves behind a husband, five children and seven grandchildren. Jackson is the soldier’s oldest daughter.
“We used to butt heads like rams, but she was always my hero. This is something I probably would never have told her,” added Jackson.
Jackson is aware she may never know what happened to her mom.
“Somewhere in the water, something happened and we don’t know any more than that. It’s just something happened in the water, she didn’t come up and they found her in the water, added Jackson.
She hopes her mother’s last return home will help heal the family.
“It’s kind of like an infected wound and not having her body has just been eating at us. Hopefully, having the body now will be like the antibiotic that we need and we can start to actually heal,” added Jackson.
Jackson expects her mother’s body to be flown into Huntsville International Airport in a week.
Lt. Col. Ewing served 27 years in the U.S. Army. She was first enlisted, but later became a commissioned officer. Lt. Col Ewing worked in Logistics and with EOD.
Funeral arrangements for Lt. Col. Ewing are scheduled for Saturday, September 29 at Laughlin Service Funeral Home in Huntsville. The visitation starts at 10:00 a.m. The funeral starts at 11:00 a.m. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Operation Homefront.