Photos: Unclaimed veterans laid to rest at Santa Fe National Cemetery

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Unclaimed veterans were laid to rest Thursday at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in a special 2020 Forgotten Heroes Funeral. Prior to the memorial service in Santa Fe, Bernalillo County Fire Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Albuquerque Police Department all showed their support as they stood side by side to honor 29 forgotten veterans. 

The memorial was held for them Thursday morning at Strong Thorne Mortuary. A flag was flown in their honor while police gave a proper escort to the National Cemetery in Santa Fe. Of the 29 veterans—all of them male—25 were from Bernalillo County and four from Otero County.

Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)

“We are forced to host this ceremony virtually, but that should not diminish our effort to provide these veterans the ‘final salute’ they earned through their service to our country,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a pre-recorded eulogy. “This may be called the Forgotten Heroes Funeral, but these heroes, today, are not forgotten. May the souls of these 29 men rest now and forever in peace.”

Interred with full military honors at Thursday’s funeral were the following 25 veterans from Bernalillo County: (Name and date of death)*

  • USAF Pvt. Adrian San Jose Christain Aarons (5/23/19)
  • U.S. Army (rank undetermined) Lionel Eugene Austin (12/31/18)
  • USAF A1C Robert Bell (8/23/18)
  • U.S Navy SA John D. Brant (12/31/17)
  • Army SP4 Dobbins D. Brown (8/10/18)
  • U.S. Coast Guard PO1 Richard Lee Bryson (1/31/18)
  • Army (rank undetermined) Jimmy Edward Chavez (2/25/18)
  • Army (rank undetermined) Fredrick Finfrock (3/19/19)
  • USAF MSgt. Arnold Alvin Fischer (9/14/18)
  • Army (rank undetermined) Horatio C. Flores (9/10/18)
  • USMC (rank undetermined) Bruce Charles Fox (2/1/19)
  • Navy (rank undetermined) Gregory Ayala Garcia (5/14/18)
  • Coast Guard PO3 Hugh Kenneth Gilmour (9/4/18)
  • Navy (rank undetermined) Fred Louis Hernandez (10/24/18)
  • USMC (rank undetermined) Perry Lee Hiner (6/11/18)
  • Army PFC Rafael Jesus Hinojosa (12/29/18)
  • USAF (rank undetermined) Jimmy Wayne Mattison (5/4/18)
  • Army PFC Gary W. Moore (7/16/18)
  • Army PFC Carlos Pinkston (4/30/18)
  • Navy SA Larry Wayne Reckard (7/3/18)
  • Army (rank undetermined) Don Anthony Saavedra (12/31/18)
  • USAF (rank undetermined) Herdia Luke Shell (9/25/18)
  • Army SP4 Darryl Howard Shrader (6/15/18)
  • USAF SSgt James Arthur Stevens (3/11/19)
  • USAF (rank undetermined) Hugh Godwin Vann II (9/22/18)

Interred Thursday from Otero County:

  • USMC Cpl Earl Brubaker (3/27/17)
  • Navy P3 Elbert Stocks (3/13/18)
  • Army PVT Richard Wolfe (6/12/18)
  • USAF TSgt Buddy Milford (3/6/17)
Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)
Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)
Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)
Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)
Unclaimed Cremated Remains of 29 Military Veterans Laid to Rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, September 24, 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services)

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