A Green Beret from Hayward who died of injuries sustained in combat in Afghanistan was laid to rest Monday with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sgt. 1st Class James Grissom's family, including his wife, parents and sister, attended the burial of his cremated remains.

The family chose Arlington in Virginia over other military cemeteries, said his father, Jim Grissom, of Hayward.

"James had expressed that as a preference to his wife at one point as they were talking about things, along with other decisions, such as his wanting to be an organ donor," Grissom said.

"We wanted to honor James' wishes."

Members of the U.S. Army honor guard perform a full military honors burial service for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom at Arlington National
Members of the U.S. Army honor guard perform a full military honors burial service for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on May 20, 2013. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Grissom, a 1999 graduate of Mount Eden High School in Hayward, died March 21 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany of wounds suffered from small-arms fire on March 18. He had been deployed to the Paktika province of Afghanistan.

The highly decorated Green Beret was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. A memorial ceremony for Grissom was held at his base Wednesday.

At that ceremony, Grissom's boots were displayed, holding an inverted rifle, which was topped with his military beret. At the end of the service, last roll call was taken, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.


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The family held a memorial service for Grissom in April at Fairhaven Bible Chapel in San Leandro, which he attended while growing up in Hayward.

Grissom was active in the Mount Eden High choir and art programs. "James was an amazing person," said the school's choral director, Ken Rawdon. "What I remember most is his quirky brilliance and how incredibly intelligent he was."

After high school, Grissom earned an associate degree in computer animation from the Art Institute of San Francisco before enlisting in the military in 2003.

Grissom, who already had more than a dozen medals and awards, was honored posthumously with a Bronze Star and a NATO Medal.

In addition to his father and mother, Peggy, Grissom is survived by his wife, Angela, of Washington state, and his sister, Becca Grissom, of Sacramento.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.