Joe Heller (Legacy.com)

Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.

"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.

The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.

Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.

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Aviation Boatswains Mates (Handling), assigned to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) signal for landing of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, assigned to the Blue Knights of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365 (Reinforced), on the flight deck, Sept. 6, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lenny Weston)

The Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and a locally-based helicopter squadron have been providing assistance to the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas for days, according to Navy photos posted on social media.

The posts provide the first glimpse into the U.S. Navy's response to the hurricane more than a week after the Category 5 storm slammed into the Bahamas, killing 43 as the storm slowly moved across the island chain.

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The entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy campus in Annapolis, Md., Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (Associated Press/Patrick Semansky)

The Naval Academy has opened an investigation after an employee reported finding a noose in Rickover Hall on Aug. 28, the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington.

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Doolin Ferry Co/Facebook

Crew members of western Ireland's Doolin Ferry Co. were headed to Inis Oirr, a small island in Galway Bay, on Monday afternoon when they spotted something bright orange floating in the water.

"First I had a feeling of fear, (wondering) if there was people in difficulty 'cause we could only see about a meter of the bow sticking out of the water," Tom Noel, one of the crew members, said in an email to The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. "Then once we got closer and could see the amount of growth on it, I knew it was a long time in the water and that it was only a danger to navigation."

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Second Class Petty Officer Association (SCPOA) serve Ice cream and waffles aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Roland John)

You'd expect a force commonly derided as a "Chair Force" to rank pretty high on a list of U.S. service branches by obesity, but apparently the Navy has snatched that king-size throne from the flyboys in the Air Force.

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is welcomed Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at South Bend International Airport after returning from a seven-month tour of duty with the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan.(Associated Press/South Bend Tribune, Greg Swiercz)

Editor's note: We've been pestering campaign officials since February for an interview with Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the many Democrats running for president in 2020. Finally, after months of silence, the news gods finally delivered.

Below, Buttigieg answers questions from Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol on the war in Afghanistan, tensions with Iran, and bridging the civil-military divide.

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