The Nevada Veterans Coalition conducted its 10 mission in May at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley to remember veterans whose remains have been in the care of a mortuary but have remained unclaimed.
The coalition, though, is conducting its first mission Friday at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery (SNVMC) in Boulder City by honoring 35 servicemen whose remains have also been unclaimed, some resting on shelves for decades before they have been properly identified.
Services will be held with full military honors for 35 veterans at 12:30 p.m., but the coalition advises guests to arrive at the SNVMC no later than noon. Staging of the remains begins at 11:30 a.m. at the cemetery, 1900 Veterans Memorial Drive.
“This is part of the Missing in America (project) in Nevada,” said Chris Naylor, superintendent of SNVMC. “The coalition has been grateful enough to get it started.”
Naylor said the cemetery and coalition have been working with individuals in Southern Nevada to identify deceased veterans. Although this is the first service of its kind in southern Nevada, Naylor said he would like to do the remembrance at least once a month.
“We’re off to a good start,” he said. “This is just the first one, but we’re expecting a lot more.”
The NVC conducted its first mission at the NNVMC in late September with 25 remains. This ceremony in Boulder City, however, remembers veterans who served in the U.S. Army beginning with World War I to the Vietnam War. Veterans also represent the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. A soldier, Clarence McDonald, received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Service, said there’s a great divide between the citizens of both northern and southern Nevada.
“When it comes to veterans issues, however, no such partition exists,” she said. “During the efforts to build a new veterans home in Northern Nevada, Southern Nevada veterans stood arm-in-arm with their Northern comrades ensuring that this project was approved. And when the Nevada Veterans Coalition experienced success in finding and honorably interring veterans whose remains were left on shelves in funeral homes, they brought their ‘Missing in Nevada’ program south.’”
She said by partnering with many great veterans organizations in Southern Nevada, the coalition is helping ensure that every “lost” Nevada veteran will be brought home to a veterans’ cemetery.
“Our entire honor guard will do the service,” said coalition spokesman Tom Draughon, a Vietnam veteran. “As time goes by, they (SNVMC) will be able to conduct the ceremony.”
Prior to the ceremony and during the procession to the final resting place, Naylor said active-duty airmen from Nellis Air Force Base, sailors from an active-duty Navy tenant command at Nellis and soldiers from the Nevada Army National Guard will carry the remains from a hearse to a table, where each hand-crafted urn is lined up. The ceremony includes comments on the veterans’ lives and their service, a 3-volley salute, the playing of “Taps” and the folding of the United States flag, which is then presented to a person designated before the ceremony.
Draughon said members of the Patriot Guard Riders in southern Nevada have been asked to carry U.S. flags. He added coalition member Sharon Serenko will conduct the service and explain the purpose of the ceremony.
Furthermore, Draughon said NVC relied on Bunkers Eden Vale Mortuary for its vast database from which to work; National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and their vast team of researchers; coalition members who put in countless volunteer hours; the NVC Honor Guard and various other escorts; and the staff at SNVMC for guiding the coalition through the proper procedures to get these veterans home where they belong.
“Under Linda Freeman, we have been working with the mortuary to identify these 35 individuals,” Draughon said.
Freeman has assisted the coalition in working with different state and federal agencies and funeral homes to identify the forgotten military members. Draughon said Freeman has been able to reduce the time it takes to identify the veterans and obtain some military records. He said Freeman has been doing a good job of locating and identifying individuals, and she has been working with getting veterans’ names from southern Nevada.
“We will continue to come up with names. This is what we do,” Draughon pointed out. “Now, you’ll see us planting a seed (with SNVMC).”
The 35 veterans include the following:
Lewis Bar (1905-1980), U.S. Army, Aug. 1942-Oct. 1945, WWII.
Mark Beals (1926-2005), U.S. Army, Dec. 1944-Jan. 1947, WWII.
George Boa (1920-1987), U.S. Army, Jan. 1942-Nov. 1945, WWII.
Harold Bozovsky (1921-2005), U.S. Army, Jan. 1944-Dec 1945, WWII.
John Chase (1912-1988), U.S. Air Force, April 1942-July 1954 WWII/Korea
Clarence Choate (1921-1989, U.S. Army, Feb. 1940-July 1945, WWII.
Edward Fisher (1930-1988), U.S. Coast Guard, Dec, 1950-Dec 1953, Korea.
Victor Forbush (1908-1978), U.S. Navy, Aug. 1926-Nov. 1945 WWII.
Forrest Gould (1933-1990), U.S. Army, Dec. 1952-Nov. 1954, Korea.
Elmer Harris (1891-1979), U.S. Army, Sept. 1917-Dec 1918, WWI.
Russell Herr (1923-1989), U.S. Army, Dec. 1944-Jan. 1946, WWII.
Jimmie Holcomb (1921-1989), U.S. Army, Oct. 1941-June 1945, WWII.
Cecil Huffine (1914-1995), U.S. Army, May 1943-Oct. 1945, WWII.
Ross Hughes (1914-1995), U.S. Army, Dec. 1943 -April 1946, WWII.
Joseph Hunt (1908-1981), U.S. Army, April 1943-Oct. 1944, WWII.
William King (1915-1989), U.S. Army, Sept. 1942-Feb. 1946, WWII.
Phillip Kolman (1921-2005), U.S. Army, Sept. 1942-Dec. 1945, WWII.
Norman MacInnes (1903-1974), U.S. Army, Sept. 1920-Sept. 1921.
Edward Maloney (1927-2005) ), U.S. Navy, May 1945-Sept 1949, WWII.
Clarence McDonald (1920-1992), U.S. Army, Dec. 1941-Oct. 1945, WWII, who received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Robert Miller (1912-1988), U.S. Navy, 1942-Dec 1945, WWII.
Riley Morrison (1928-1992) U.S. Army, Nov. 1950-Aug. 1952, Korea.
Joseph Nemec (1906-1988) U.S. Army, Sept. 1942-21, Dec. 1945, WWII.
William O’Day (1920-1986), U.S. Navy, Sept. 1939-Feb. 1946, WWII.
Andro Pavlik (1920-1994) ), U.S. Navy, May 1942-April 1961, WWII/Korea.
Sanford Perry (1915-1989) U.S. Army May 1942-Oct. 1943, WWII.
John Prine (1941-1992) ), U.S. Navy, April 1958 -Dec. 1969, Vietnam.
Richard Ranft (1920-1978) U.S. Army March 1941-July 1945, WWII.
Robert Turk (1924-2005) U.S. Army, March 1943-Feb. 1946, WWII.
Nick Walsoff (1911-1989) U.S. Army, Nov. 1942-Jan. 1946, WWII.
John Weidinger (1914-1989) U.S. Army, March 1944-April 1946, WWII.
John Whalen (1919-1990) U.S. Army, Oct. 1940-Sept 1945, WWII.
Martin Wilson (1907-1987) U.S. Army, Sep 1942-Sept 1945, WWII.
Eugene Yevich (1927-2014) U.S. Army, Nov. 1945-Oct. 1946, WWII.
Leonard Zimmerman (1916-1980), U.S. Marine Corps/U.S. Army, March 1936-Dec. 1945, WWII.