Marine Corps Base Quantico — The remains of 26 unclaimed veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and seven spouses were escorted to their final resting place and honored with a full military service as part of the Missing in America Project at the Quantico National Cemetery on March 16, 2013.
The unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans were located, identified and intered through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. The remains were escorted from the headquarters in Williamsburg, Va., to the Quantico National Cemetery by The Band of Brothers USMC Motorcycle Riding Club, and many other riding clubs, both veteran and civilian.
“These veterans’ remains have been sitting unclaimed on a shelf,” said Brigitte Corbin, Virginia state coordinator, Missing in America Project. “Today we are here as a family to lay to rest the veterans who will be joining 37 others who were brought here before.”
Although the veterans’ immediate family members never claimed their remains, there were still members of the military family there to pay their respects and honor.
“While all these beautiful bikes rolled up the hill,” said Col. James Brennan, commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, “there is one aspect of this ceremony that needs to be mentioned and that has to do with family.
“Normally you have family members mourning over the loss of a loved one, unfortunately that is not really going to happen today, but blood is not the only family that exists. I see the family here, I see it on television and I hear it going up and down Interstate 95 every night. The sound of freedom, the sound of the bond that is formed in the armed forces of the United States, the bond that is created with our veterans.”
Lance Cpl. Sharon Kyle, photographer, Combat Camera, and Linda Costello, retired Marine Corps master sergeant, felt a special bond to one of the veterans who was laid to rest.
“I was glad I was a part of it,” said Kyle. “It does a lot more for me to be able be a part of it instead of just watch it happen. It makes my career and my Marine Corps journey that much more memorable.”
Staff Sgt. Margaret A. Osgood, 1920-2004, World War II Marine veteran, was the first female veteran laid to rest by the program. Kyle and Costello both jumped at the opportunity to pay their final respects to their fellow Marine.
“I was honored to carry Staff Sergeant Osgood’s flag,” said Costello. “It’s sad to think she died in 2004 and nobody knew who or where she was. I just hope this doesn’t happen to me or any other Marine.”
In the three years the Virginia chapter of MIAP has been open, Corbin said 13 wives and 75 veterans have been laid to rest, but the most important number is that 15 veterans were reunited with their families.
“Our first goal is to reunite them,” said Corbin. “A lot of times the families don’t even know where their loved ones are.”
The organization will continue to locate and identify the remains of veterans and, if unable to reunite them with their families, to secure a final resting place for those heroes who served.
To donate, become a supporter or learn more about the Missing in America Project visit www.miap.us.
By Lance Cpl. Tabitha Bartley | Headquarters & Service Battalion | March 19, 2013