- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

The military honors performed by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at Arlington National Cemetery are considered the model for veterans' funeral services throughout the nation: solemn, dignified and precise.
Last week, it performed full military honors for Warrant Officer William Arthur Kimsey Jr., who would have been 55 this year.
Born in Tennessee, Warrant Officer Kimsey enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school in Grand Junction, Colo., in 1965. He completed flight school and was sent to Vietnam in 1967, where he flew across enemy lines to direct Navy gunfire on enemy anti-aircraft sites. He turned 21 just two weeks before he went missing in action, shot down over the Demilitarized Zone on Jan. 21, 1968. Though classified as killed in action, his remains were only recently recovered from Vietnam.
Warrant Officer Kimsey's funeral service started in the chapel at Fort Myer. Then came a curving walk downhill to an open grave near that of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Every participant was wearing the Army's dress-blue uniform.
First came an 18-piece band playing "The Army Goes Rolling Along," the Army's official song. Then came 18 soldiers shouldering rifles. Next came a soldier carrying the American flag, flanked by two other soldiers.
Seven horses, three with soldiers astride, pulled a caisson bearing the flag-draped casket. Close behind were eight Old Guard pallbearers, and Warrant Officer Kimsey's two sisters and their families.
As the band marched and took its place a short distance from the grave, the band played "Amazing Grace," "In the Garden" and "Loch Lohman," as the family had requested.
Already in place 50 yards away was the armed guard seven riflemen and a commanding officer standing at attention. The leader of the platoon raised a saber, called "Present arms," and every member of the honor guard snapped to attention, and some civilians placed their hands over their hearts.
All soldiers remained at attention as the pallbearers, slow sidestep by sidestep, removed the coffin. A drummer played, and, led by the chaplain, the pallbearers carried the coffin firmly to a metal scaffold over the grave.
The family was led to 10 cushioned, folding chairs as the horses pulled the caisson down the road out of sight. The pallbearers slowly lifted the flag to waist level.
Maj. Claude Crisp, the chaplain, said Warrant Officer Kimsey essentially said to the nation, "'My life is your life.'" The chaplain then recited the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ."
Maj. Crisp lifted his white-gloved right hand heavenward and gave a prayer.
Everyone was asked to stand. The officer in charge of the armed guard called out "Present arms" again, and the seven soldiers cocked their rifles. As the officer called out orders, they fired three paced, simultaneous blasts into the air.
With the honor guard standing silently at attention, a bugler performed taps.
Keeping position, the pallbearers began briskly and precisely folding the flag in a triangle over the foot of the casket. When the blue field reached the end, it was folded over the red-and-white stripes and passed back to the officer in charge.
The squad saluted after giving the flag to the officer in charge, turned and marched away in formation through the graves. The officer did an about-face, clicked his heels and presented the folded flag to the chaplain.
Maj. Crisp marched slowly to kneel before Warrant Officer Kimsey's family. With the words, "On behalf of the president and a grateful nation, I present you with the American flag," he gave the flag to Warrant Officer Kimsey's next of kin. Maj. Crisp rose, saluted and stepped away.
A member of the Army Arlington Ladies came forward and presented a letter of commendation from Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, chief of staff of the Army.
"We're real proud of our family history, and we've loved this country for a long, long time," said Glenda Ehrlich, Warrant Officer Kimsey's sister.
Mrs. Ehrlich, of Corpus Christi, Texas, recounted how their ancestors came from Scotland in 1746, participated in the Revolutionary War and fought with the Union Army in the Civil War, while later generations served in World War I, World War II and, finally, in Vietnam.
As the family walked from the grave site, the soldiers marched away in time with a drumbeat. One soldier remained at the grave, standing guard, until keepers came to lower the casket, fill in soil and plant a temporary grave marker that soon will be replaced by a granite or marble headstone.


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