Marines Killed In Action Return Home To A Somber Ceremony At Arlington

A very special funeral was held at the Arlington National Cemetery for five Vietnam War Marines who were killed in action together in the same incident. Their bodies were recovered and identified over a span of five years by the Defense Department POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

All of these Marines were killed in action while being inserted behind enemy lines in Thien-Hue Province on June 30, 1967.

Source: U.S. Marines
Marines with Bravo Company and the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard, Marine Barracks Washington D.C., prepare to march at the front of the procession during a full honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

On that day in June, Capt. John A. House was piloting a Marine Corps, CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter with three crew members on a mission to insert an 8-man Reconnaissance team, from Alpha Co. 3rd Recon Bn, 3rd Marine Division into enemy territory.

They were there to do what they do best, that is, stealthy reconnaissance to seek out enemy movement, positions, and numbers, etc.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Marine Sgt. Katie Maynard salutes as a casket is lowered during a funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

When the CH-46 was coming into the landing zone, it suddenly received very heavy fire from the treelines all around the landing site. The helicopter caught on fire and went down quickly. Three of the helicopter crew and four of the recon team from Alpha Co. 3rd Recon survived the crash and were later rescued, but the remains of those who were killed could not be recovered at that time.

Those KIAs were subsequently placed on the list of MIAs and remained there until recently.

Source: flickr/Arlington National Cemetery
Marines from the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. (8th and I); “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band; and the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon participate in the full honors funeral of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Walter G. Critchley in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

With the help and full cooperation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and local villagers, the DPAA were able to recover the remains of five of the KIA in this incident. They also were able to recover material evidence, life support equipment and helicopter wreckage from the CH-46 helicopter. They were able to identify the remains of LCpl. Merlin R. Allen, of Madison, WI, and Navy Hospital Corpsman, Michael B. Judd, 21, of Cleveland, Ohio, in 2013. The remains of Capt. John A. House, the pilot of the CH-46A helicopter, and Cpl. Glyn L. Reynolds, 21, of Birmingham, AL, and LCpl., John D. Killen, 18, of Davenport, Iowa, were not identified until December 22, 2015.

These Marines were buried together at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and with family members present. Since they were all Marines, the Marine Honor Guard and the Marine Body Bearers from the Marine Barracks at 8th and I Streets in Washington, D.C. provided the full color and dignity of a Marine Corps burial to the funeral proceedings.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps honor guard participate in the Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

The Veterans Site sends its condolences to the families of these five Marines killed in action. They are interred together just as they died together. We honor their sacrifice, deeply respect their service to the country, and say to them with all our hearts, “Welcome Home, good Marines!”

Semper Fidelis! We remain your Fratres Aeterni!

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