Argentine Airman Buried With Military Honors
Oct. 05, 1986
STANLEY, Falkland Islands (AP) _ An Argentine fighter pilot killed in the 1982 Falkland Islands War was buried Saturday in a ceremony attended by his father and sister, the first Argentines to visit the islands since the war.
Air Force Lt. Miguel Angel Gimenez died May 29, 1982, when his Pucara lgiht attack aircraft crashed on a remote mountain top in East Falkland Island. His body was found Aug. 26 in the wreckage.
His father, Isaias Lenin Gimenez, and his sister, Maria Carolina, 24, traveled 17,000 miles via London to get from Argentina to the Falklands, about 300 miles off the Argentine coast, because the two countries cut communication links after the war.
Gimenez was buried with military honors in a 20-minute service at the Argentine cemetery at Goose Green, the scene of bitter fighting during the 74- day war.
''All that we have done has been in the name of my son,'' said Gimenez. ''I believe that my son's death will not have been in vain.''
A British army unit bore the coffin, which was draped in the blue-and-white Argentine flag.
Gimenez and his daughter walked behind the coffin and were followed by the British commander, Rear Admiral Christopher Layman. Other guests included Falkland Islands councilor Lewis Clifton.
The Rev. Austin Monaghan conducted the Roman Catholic service in English.
''Help all nations to work for that peace so that all men may one day live as brothers,'' the priest shouted as the wind gathered force under a darkening afternoon sky.
After the final blessing, a 12-man British army and air force team fired three volleys over the grave and an army bugler played the solemn Last Post and Reveille.
Gimenez and his daughter placed wreaths at the grave, the priest clasped their hands and the guests lined up to shake hands and offer condolences.
After the service, Gimenez and his daughter flew by helicopter to Blue Mountain, where the body of the 28-year-old pilot had lain undetected for more than four years, and laid a wreath in the wreckage.
The two began their journey home later Saturday.
Britain and Argentina cut diplomatic ties after Argentina invaded the Falklands on April 2, 1982. British forces ousted the Argentines after bitter fighting that claimed 712 Argentine and 255 British lives.
Argentina has refused to accept the return of any of its war dead, saying the bodies should remain ''as permanent testimony to Argentine sovereignty.''
Britain and the Falklands decided on humanitarian grounds to let Giminez and his daughter attend the funeral.
Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falklands, which it calls Las Malvinas. Britain has ruled the islands as a colony since 1833. The 1,800 residents of the islands are staunchly pro-British.