Raymond Thompson was buried Thursday in Beaufort National Cemetery.
His remains came from Charleston. He served as a U.S. Navy seaman during the Vietnam War. There were no friends and family to represent him at his funeral.
That is all that is known about the man described as an indigent veteran.
But that was enough for more than 150 people to attend a ceremony at the cemetery honoring Thompson for his service after word spread this week.
“We are his family,” cemetery representative Louis Brown said as he spoke to the crowd in front of Thompson’s flag-draped casket. “And it’s evident by everyone here today.”
Cemetery director Sonny Peppers learned Tuesday that Thompson would be buried behind the gates on Boundary Street and had no one to represent him. He reached out to the local chapter of Disabled American Veterans.
An email was circulated, and chapter treasurer Ron Voegeli put out a call on Facebook for the community to turn out.
The message spread quickly. The crowd was the largest Voegeli said he had seen for a Beaufort National Cemetery ceremony, and the veterans organization has supported similar ceremonies for three decades.
A bugler blew “Taps” at the shelter in the rear of the cemetery grounds.
A U.S. Navy ceremonial guard from Naval Hospital Beaufort folded the flag and presented it to Disabled American veterans officer James Johnston. The flag will be returned to the cemetery and used in future events, Johnston said.
John Williams, a retired Marine, delivered the committal. He prayed that whatever discomfort Thompson experienced at the end of his life had been replaced with happiness and led the crowd in reciting Psalm 23.
“May God bless Mr. Raymond Thompson,” Williams said.
Vietnam veteran Paul Fisher walked through the cemetery before the ceremony, following the procession. The Ohio native had gone through boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island during the 1960s and swore he would never return to the land of bugs and sand.
But he came back three years ago, and attended the ceremony Thursday after receiving an email.
“It’s one of those things,” he said. “Everybody should be recognized.”
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.