Posts Tagged ‘American Legion’

USMC Sgt Arechaga Place Sign

A number of groups participated today in honoring a fallen hero.

Sgt, Julian M. Arechaga, USMC, 1st Batt., 6th Marines, Charlie Company, 2nd Marine Division, was killed in action in Al Anbar province, Iraq, on October 9, 2006.

A large crowd gathering in Baldwin, Long Island, to pay tribute to his memory and rename the street where he grew up in his honor.

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Sgt Arechaga was a hero.  He volunteered to serve a third deployment to Iraq because he was worried about the inexperience of the Marines that were replacing his unit.  His experience and bravery under fire is credited with saving scores of Marines and Iraq civilians during engagements in Ramadhi and across Al Anbar province.

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Members of his family gave tearful remembrances of Julian, particularly his niece, whose recollections of her uncle Julian brought tears even to the eyes of hard bitten veterans.

It was an honor to stand a flag line for this Marine, whose service and sacrifice was remembered by so many.

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Among the many groups present were:  Baldwin and South Hempstead Fire Departments, American Legion, Boy Scouts, Patriot Guard Riders, Gathering of Eagles, Nassau Tea Party, Local Politicians and clergy.

More pictures here, and here.

It’s been a long torturous road for this hero of WWII.

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Airman 1st Class Arthur Carl Miller was killed in action on the island of Peleliu on September 13, 1944, two days before the invasion of the island by the 1st Marine Division.  He was filling in as a gunner on a TBM Avenger flying from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  The mission, to bomb the japanese held Peleliu airfield, came to a disastrous end as the aircraft was hit by murderous anti-aircraft fire, exploded and crashed north of the airfield.  More details here.

Remains, identified as another crewman, Wesley Stuart, were returned to his family in California.  Mrs. Stuart refused to believe they were the remains of her son, but she vowed to take care of some other mother’s son and so the remains were interred in their family mausoleum in San Joaquin.

In 2008, Mary Ellen Roberts, sister of Wesley Stuart, had the remains disinterred and flown to Hawaii for DNA testing to resolve the long standing family issue.  Her mother’s intuition was proven correct, the boy kept so long in their keeping was not Wesley Stuart, and a search would find that he was Carl Miller of Poughkeepsie, NY.  More here.

Dennis reports:

On Saturday morning, Nov 7. 2009 a full military ceremony (Navy) was held for Radioman First Class at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. It was a beautiful autumn day with bright sunshine and mild to crisp temperatures.

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Radioman First Class Miller was a crew member (Radio and gunner) of a Grumman Avenger that was shot down in 1944. He was officially listed as MIA until several months ago when his remains were identified and his closest next of kin (his son, who was born 6 months after his father’s death) was notified. His son requested a military funeral at the family plot in Poughkeepsie. His son also asked around in search of veteran participation in what would be a modest ceremony.

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Gathering of Eagles, Rolling Thunder, Patriot Guard Riders, and the American Legion all participated. RFC Miller’s remains were escorted to the cemetery by Rolling Thunder and PGR. encircling the Navy pall bearers, rifle team was a flag line of about 75 members of the groups in attendance holding American flags with a few Navy, Navy Jack, POW/MIA, and 1 Gadsden flags. Also conspicuously present was a homemade sign saying “Welcome Home Sailor” It was truly an honor to be invited to pay our respects to a true American hero. The family was very moved as were we all.

Airman Miller’s son, Arthur Miller, Jr. and family:

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The sign says it all:

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More of Steve’s pictures here.

Background on Airman Miller’s service written by his son.

Special thanks to PacificWrecks.Org for their background material and some photos on this story.

Also attending the service were members of The Bent Prop Project.

For more background on the Battle of Peleliu.

History Channel Video Series “Lost Evidence”

It was a beautiful crisp clear day at the National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY. A stiff breeze kept the flags flapping and everyone’s cheeks rosy!

National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY,  Wreaths laid on Veterans Graves

National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY, Wreaths laid on Veterans Graves

Harry Rathsam and the scouts of Troop 604 did an outstanding job of preparing the grounds for the Wreath ceremony. Starting about 9:30 am they placed over 2,000 wreaths on veterans’ graves throughout the cemetery.

At the appointed time Patriot Guard Riders formed a flag line along Flagstaff Drive, the road leading to the flagpole from the Administration Building. The Boy Scouts marched up flagstaff drive with veterans and Gold Star family members. As they passed, the PGR flag line fell in behind them and followed them in to Flagstaff Circle.

Harry Rathsam was a fabulous Master of Ceremonies and led the group through the Pledge of Allegiance, the setting of wreaths for each branch of the armed forces and POW/MIAs.

What was nicest was that it was a gathering of Americans, veterans and civilians alike, for one purpose. To honor those who served and laid down their lives in defense of our nation and our liberty. The were no speechs by politicians with flowery rhetoric, only folks who really cared about our troops past and present.

It was an honor to take part in this event and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Here is a map of the cemetery. The location of the ceremony was at the circle in the middle of Flagstaff Drive in the lower right of the image.

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A few pictures are here, and more pictures as well as some short video clips which will be edited into a single clip are here.

The excellent final video.

Other reports from NY State:

Chemung County, Woodlawn National Cemetery 2

Chenango County, Guilford Center Cemetery 2(Video)

Tioga County Veterans Memorial 2 3

Saratoga County, G. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery

Steuben County, Bath National Cemetery 2

Suffolk County, Calverton National Cemetery 2

Westchester County, Kemper Memorial Park

For reports from other locations around the nation continue reading

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