By Jim Dresbach, PentagramApril 14, 2017
National Capital Region Marines and Soldiers combined to offer a final "Godspeed" during the funeral service for Marine colonel, NASA astronaut and Senator John Glenn April 6 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Old Post Chapel.
While in a steady rain, Marines from Barracks 8th and I stood at attention and funeral music was provided by The U.S. Marine Band, "The President's Own," a team from Fort Myer's 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Army Caisson Platoon carried the remains of Glenn to Section 35 of Arlington National Cemetery for a full military honors burial.
Glenn passed away Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio.
Members of the caisson team for the Glenn procession included Platoon Leader Capt. Austin Hatch, Sgt. Ryan Franks, Spc. Hunter Terrell, Spc. Bradley Dunlap and Spc. Luke Kruger.
"It was definitely an honor for us to be able to do this," Franks said. "It's not exactly the most ideal weather to go out and ride, but in a situation like this, we are more than happy to saddle up and go out and do something that honors one of our nation's heroes. He was a true hero -- a war hero and a hero with his accomplishments as an astronaut. It was very humbling to be a part of that mission."
Each member of the riding party received a commemorative pin honoring Glenn and his first orbit around the earth as a Mercury astronaut.
"This is something you really don't get to do every day at the caisson," Dunlap said after the funeral march. "This is, by far, the most high-priority mission that I've ever done for caisson. This was a huge honor for me. On a personal level, you don't get to do this every day."
The Caisson Platoon is responsible for bringing the flag-draped coffins of deceased service members to their final resting places inside Arlington National Cemetery. They are members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at email@example.com.