Heroes Laid to Rest: Missing in America Project Holds Fall Ceremony at Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo

The cremains of 14 previously unclaimed Veterans were laid to rest at Arizona Veterans' Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo on October 5th
October 11, 2023

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- The Arizona community came together to pay their respects to fourteen Unclaimed Veterans who found their final resting place at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery (AVMC) at Camp Navajo.

On Oct. 5, the Missing in America Project (MIAP) held a repatriation ceremony to provide a final interment with military honors for the 14 Veterans.  

MIAP is a national non-profit that locates, identifies and inters the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans and provides honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing them a final resting place.

“We want to honor the memory and service of our comrades, our brothers and sisters who were called to the highest duty station,” said MIAP Chaplain Carey Carter. “They will be honored and remembered as we render the final honors.”

Dozens of community members attended the ceremony to pay their respect, including members of the Patriot Guard Riders of America, The American Legion, the Marine Corps League Detachment 912 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1709.

“These fourteen people represent the selflessness and sacrifice when they answered the call of duty to protect the freedoms we hold dear,” Richard Lozano, funeral director and owner Lozano’s Flagstaff Mortuary. “Join us in recognize service to our country but also the deep loss by those who cherished them. Let us remember freedom that comes at a great cost and duty to preserve fall on each of us.”

The Daughters of the American Revolution read out the names of each of the Veterans there were interred. The Veterans honored were:

  • A1C Richard Austin, USAF Vietnam
  • PN Jerry Lee Capps, USN Vietnam
  • SP4 Wesley James Cheeks, USA
  • SP4 David Allen Dailey, USA Vietnam
  • SP4 Richard Dorris, USA Vietnam
  • SA Leroy Etheridge, USN
  • LCpl Mark Charles Keeling Sr., USMC Vietnam
  • PR3 Douglas Arthur Peters, USN Vietnam
  • AB Porteous Thomas Solley, USAF Korea
  • PV2 William Spear, USA
  • SP4 Thomas Wayne Simeral, USA Vietnam
  • SP4 Mark Duane Turner, USA Vietnam
  • SGT Steven Veach, USA Vietnam
  • PVT Randall King Wright, USMC Vietnam

The Honor Ceremony was followed by Taps and a ceremonial flag folding by the Marine Corps League Detachment 912 VFW Post 1709.

“We pray that they find eternal peace and memory helps us be better people, cherish our freedoms and ensure sacrifice never forgotten,” Carter said. “Today these Veterans, these heroes are no longer forgotten. Today, we become their family.”