Her face was familiar to millions of Americans. They saw Maj. Marie T. Rossi look into a camera lens and say she was prepared for the worst.
One week later, during a supply run in Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old pilot's CH-47 Chinook helicopter went down, killing her and three other soldiers.On Monday, as her casket was lowered into the soil at the Arlington National Cemetery, her words echoed through the chill and wind of the midafternoon sunlight.
"As an aviator and a soldier, this is the moment that everybody trains for - that I've trained for - so I feel ready to meet a challenge," the soft-spoken pilot told Cable News Network one week before her death.
At the 612-acre cemetery in which 200,000 Americans are buried, Rossi's family members, friends and comrades gave the Oradell, N.J., woman an Army Full Honor funeral, replete with a caisson team, a 21-gun salute and a lone soldier who sounded "Taps" on a bugle.
The family was given two U.S. flags, one which draped her casket.
Rossi's husband, Chief Warrant Officer 3 John A. Cayton, received the first flag, kissing it gently.