Dozens of service members showed up for the funeral of a 5-year-old who dreamed of being an 'Army Man'


Dozens of U.S. service members showed up to the funeral of a 5-year-old boy who dreamed of being an "Army Man" before he passed away from cancer last week.

River "Oakley" Nimmo was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer when he was two years old, according to a 2017 GoFundMe campaign set up by a family friend, He was declared cancer-free in June of 2017, but the cancer came back the next month.

He died on June 20th.

Nimmo was "feisty, courageous, smart and full of life," his obituary says, and spent "most of this life fighting to live ... with a smile on his face.

"In between hospital stays, Oakley spent his free time driving his power wheels and shooting his toy guns," the obituary reads. "He often talked of being an 'Army Man,' as he called it, when he grew up."

Nimmo's family made the request that "any active military members and/or veterans" attend his funeral — and dozens from the Arkansas National Guard did just that, per CNN.

The Arkansas National Guard also made Nimmo an Honorary Colonel on June 20th, with the duty title "ARMY MAN."

Spokesperson for the Arkansas National Guard, Maj. William Phillips, told CNN that many of the service members had been following Nimmo's battle against cancer, and that he'd won their hearts with his love of the military.

"On behalf of the veterans here in Arkansas and the veterans of this country and in this community, we're honored to be here for him," David Cagle of the Arkansas National Guard said per Arkansas affiliate, KFSM. "He's always going to be our Army man, our little soldier, angel."

Other service members offered an outpouring of love on social media.

"I wish I heard about his struggle beforehand," said one man on Facebook, who identified himself as a member of the 101st Airborne Division. "I would have driven from Ft Campbell to honor the bravest Soldier I could ever hope to meet. Til Valhall Soldier. I salute you."

"Rest easy brother," said another Facebook user. "Until Valhalla little would have been an honor to serve besides you."

(Facebook photo)
Ryan Kules

Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.

On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

CAMP PENDLETON — Susan and Michael McDowell attended a memorial in June for their son, 1st Lt. Conor McDowell. Kathleen Isabel Bourque, the love of Conor's life, joined them. None of them had anticipated what they would be going through.

Conor, the McDowells' only child, was killed during a vehicle rollover accident in the Las Pulgas area of Camp Pendleton during routine Marine training on May 9. He was 24.

Just weeks before that emotional ceremony, Alexandrina Braica, her husband and five children attended a similar memorial at the same military base, this to honor Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion who also was killed in a rollover accident, April 13, at age 29.

Braica, of Sacramento, was married and had a 4 1/2-month-old son.

"To see the love they had for Josh and to see the respect and appreciation was very emotional," Alexandrina Braica said of the battalion. "They spoke very highly of him and what a great leader he was. One of his commanders said, 'He was already the man he was because of the way he was raised.' As parents, we were given some credit."

While the tributes helped the McDowells and Braicas process their grief, the families remain unclear about what caused the training fatalities. They expected their sons eventually would deploy and put their lives at risk, but they didn't expect either would die while training on base.

"We're all still in denial, 'Did this really happen? Is he really gone?' Braica said. "When I got the phone call, Josh was not on my mind. That's why we were at peace. He was always in training and I never felt that it would happen at Camp Pendleton."

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(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.

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(Courtesy of Roman Sabal)

A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.

Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.

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Jeff Schogol

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.

Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.

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