Marine Killed In Vietnam Is Buried At Arlington
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Trujillo was laid to rest here Friday, 26 years after he was killed by a mine in Vietnam.
Trujillo’s remains were returned to the United States in June by the Vietnamese following their discovery during joint U.S.-Vietnamese field investigations. He was identified through dental records in Hawaii.
Trujillo was the 319th American previously reported missing in Southeast Asia to be accounted for, according to the Air Force. An estimated 2,264 Americans, most lost in Vietnam, remain missing.
The pain of his death was still fresh for the 15 friends and family members who gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to pay their last respects.
A cold rain fell on the six Marines who bore his casket to its grave at the cemetery, where more than 227,000 military personnel and members of their families are buried.
″He was a young man full of promise, cut down in the flower of his youth,″ said Marine Chaplain Russell Gunter of the gunnery sergeant from Deming, N.M., who was 20 when he was killed.
″To some that might seem a waste. But there are those who have been touched by Joe’s life and whose lives have been changed by the compassion he had for people.″
Gunter said he was referring to Margaret Wilmott, 44, who had known Trujillo when the two lived in Deming. Wilmott, who attended the service, was influenced to choose a career in social work by Trujillo’s empathetic nature, he said.
After a gun salute and ″Taps,″ Marines in dress uniforms presented an American flag to William Drummond of Austin, Texas, Trujillo’s foster father.
Drummond said the years had not blunted the pain of the death of Trujillo.
″I thought it had, but I guess not,″ Drummond said after the ceremony. ″It was very emotional for me. We got more done in a couple years together than most people do in a lifetime.″
Drummond urged the U.S. government to search more aggressively for MIAs.
″A lot of people weren’t as lucky as I was,″ he said. ″(Families of MIAs) need support and all the help they can get.″