ELKO — A cross-country memorial parade honoring three highly decorated veterans will make a stop here May 21. The cremated remains of the veterans are being transported by the Missing In America Project in conjunction with local organizations.
The trip begins in Sacramento, Calif., and ends at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., where the remains will receive interment with military honors.
The ashes of these defenders of liberty are scheduled to leave Sacramento on the morning of May 21 and will arrive at their first overnight stop at about 6 p.m. in Elko.
Local escort riders are being organized by Dorothy Minor, the local Veterans Service Officer with the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, and Les Brown, director and commanding officer of the POW-MIA Elko Awareness Association.
Local riders will meet with the escorts in Carlin at 5:30 p.m., then proceed to the Elko Fire Station at 911 West Idaho St. to regroup. At the fire station the vehicles carrying the remains will be draped in black.
A parade permit has been acquired to allow present and former military personnel who plan to ride in the memorial parade to ride wearing the proper military headgear rather than helmets. The general public is encouraged to come out and view the memorial parade quietly to show their respect.
The parade will proceed from the fire station through town on Idaho Street, then turn left onto College Avenue to the Elko Police Station. A ceremony will be held at the Elko City Main Park at the Raul Bravo Memorial Tree.
The local escort will include riders from the Elko and Carlin city police departments, Elko County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol, the Christian Motorcycle Association, A.B.A.T.E. (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) and several Elko County commissioners, among others.
A barbecue dinner in the park is planned to feed the escort at which the general public will be welcome to buy a plate for $10, with proceeds going to help fund the costs of the escort.
Those who wish to participate in the escort to the next overnight stop in Green River, Utah, may contact Minor at 825 Railroad St., call 777-1000 or e-mail email@example.com; or contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 397-1492.
The Missing In America Project has assumed the task of locating, identifying, and interring the unclaimed remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations and in co-operation with the American Legion. Their mission is “to provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.”
The veteran remains being transported this month represent the Indian Wars, World War II and the Vietnam Conflict.
“Elko is the first stop for this escort and we hope to show the nation how Elko honors our national heroes,” said Brown.
Representing the Vietnam Conflict is Specialist (Enlisted) 6th Class James William Dunn, who served as a medical aidman in Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry.
While serving in the Republic of Vietnam, his base came under heavy enemy attack. Dunn, without regard to his own safety, retrieved a number of wounded soldiers, administered life-saving techniques and carried them to safety, saving many lives.
For his heroism, James received the Silver Star for valor in combat.
Representing World War II is Johnnie Franklin Callahan, a Silver Star recipient and a Boatswain’s Mate First Class who served on the USS Aulick 569. During an air attack by the Japanese, Callahan saved the lives of his fellow seamen. A live bomb had been dropped onto the deck of his ship, and Callahan picked it up and threw it overboard. It was for this act of bravery Callahan received the Silver Star.
Callahan’s dream had been to be buried at Arlington with full military honors and a 21-gun salute and it has been in this hope that his family has kept his ashes since his death in 1995.
Representing the Indian Wars is a Buffalo Soldier, Isaiah Mays, a U.S. Army corporal who served in the 24th Infantry, Company B.
Mays was awarded our nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, along with his sergeant, Benjamin Brown. While their unit of 12 was charged with the escort of an Army payroll, they were attacked by bandits. Sgt. Brown, although shot in the abdomen and wounded in both arms, refused to give up his defense of their charge. Eight men were wounded and the payroll was lost. Cpl. Mays, shot in both legs, walked and crawled two miles to a nearby ranch in an effort to bring help to his fellow soldiers.