The Homecoming

Years after the war ended, forensic teams returned to the battlefield in 2002 and 2003 and recovered thirty-one bone fragments, some teeth, and enough supporting evidence to make positive identifications of the four men. Corporal Sharp was the first to reach home, where he was buried in his native California a few days before the Arlington ceremony. He would be remembered at Arlington, where four caskets stood ready for burial in Section 60— one for Miller, one for Ahlmeyer, one for Tycz, and one for unidentifiable remains representing all of the dead from Breaker Patrol.

The fourth casket containing commingled bones was on its way down to Section 60 from the chapel at Fort Myer. You could gauge its progress by the rattle of drums drawing closer, setting the pace for a slow parade of two hundred mourners, a Marine rifle platoon in dress blues and white trousers, a Marine band in gold braid and scarlet, and, bringing up the rear, a squadron of Rolling Thunder— Vietnam veterans on Harleys. This mismatched pro cession streamed down the hills in brilliant sunlight, turned left on Marshall Drive, and came to a halt on Bradley Drive, where the earth was laid open to make four new graves. Six burly marines from the burial detail drew the fourth casket from a silver hearse, marched it across the grass, and stopped by the last grave. The Marine Band struck up the Navy Hymn.

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