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I laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery



After my three-year tour in Germany I was assigned to the Pentagon. On Jan. 1, 1971, I signed into the personnel department.

A master sergeant who would be working for me escorted me to the Pentagon Headquarters Telecommunications Center. I had been in charge of the Message Control Center in Germany, but nothing like this place that covered a whole wing.

I met the commander of the 2044th Communications Group mission to Headquarters, U.S. Air Force and other governmental agencies in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

The general had my military records in front of him and he said he was very impressed. He wanted to know about when I escorted the body of the first Air Force master sergeant who was killed in Vietnam to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I told him about the three-day trip. My new boss said he had been asked for volunteers to lay wreaths at graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia that year .

He wanted me to lay one at the gravesite of the master sergeant I escorted there 10 years ago.

The cemetery is a very large area. It was so much larger than when I was there in 1961. The general walked with me to lay the wreath.

My only regret is that I did not have the address of the fallen sergeant’s wife and teenage daughter from Oklahoma who were with me.

I got a thank you note later, and never heard from them again.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.



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