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Missing in Nevada service set for Friday

Date:

Military honors afforded to 19 forgotten veterans

The veterans honored Friday may have been a son, a father or a close friend, but their remains have been unclaimed for years.

FERNLEY — The first Missing in Nevada (MIN) funeral since 2019 at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery north of Fernley will remember 19 veterans who served in one of the United States’ four major military services.

The Nevada Veterans Coalition will conduct a ceremony on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.

Since 2009, when MIN began, the NVC has interred more than 350 veterans.

Full military honors will be afforded to the veterans. Left unknown for years, if not decades, the remains may have been discovered on a mortuary’s shelf or in a storage shed. Once identified, a local mortuary prepares the veterans for burial at the NNVMC or the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. The 19 veterans to be honored Friday grew up in different parts of the country, but their final home of record ended in the Silver State.

A member of the Nevada Veterans Coalition carries an urn at the last Missing in Nevada
service in 2019. The service is Friday at 10 a.m. at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial
Cemetery.
Steve Ranson / Nevada News Group
A member of the Nevada Veterans Coalition carries an urn at the last Missing in Nevada service in 2019. The service is Friday at 10 a.m. at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Steve Ranson / Nevada News Group.

During military service after another, the NVC’s mission is to offer a final honor for the veterans who served their country either in peacetime, war or both. On previous MIN services, coalition members said they will not rest until every unclaimed veteran that is out there in the state of Nevada has been given honors. The largest military service of this type in Northern Nevada recognized 27 veterans in September 2017.

Nevada Department of Veterans Services uses solemn services such as these to acknowledge the veterans’ sacrifices and to give a general assessment of their backgrounds. A rifle volley, “Taps” and a flag-folding ceremony and presentation of a United States flag follow comments.

“These unaccompanied memorial services show that these veterans who are interred are in the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery are not buried alone but are surrounded by brothers and sisters in service and by our community supporters,” the NDVS announces at each service.

It’s only human nature to speculate about their military service. Two of them — sailors Joseph Letko and Walter Bindi — were born in the 1920s and would’ve been teenagers during World War II.  Others born in the late 1920s and 1930s may have been sent to Korea, while those born in the 1940s may have either volunteered or been drafted for the Vietnam War.

The veterans being recognized include the following:

Air Force

Donald Deramus, Terrance Kaiser, Joseph Malumphy, Wesley Rubarth, Duyet Tran and Frank Weirauch.

Army

John Awe, James Coggins, David McMurray, George Pope, Martin Salzer, Michael Sandmann, Jack Slate and William Wisckol.

Marine Corps

Jack Martinez

Navy

George Abernathy, Walter Bindi, Robert Brewer and Joseph Letko.

Steve Ranson
Steve Ranson
Steve Ranson is Editor Emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News.

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