Services For Three Marines Killed in El Salvador
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ Three of four Marines gunned down by terrorists last week in El Salvador were laid to rest after being eulogized as ″sons of America″ and heroes.
In Ohio, Marine units escorted the flag-draped coffins of Sgt. Thomas T. Handwork, 24, of the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, and Sgt. Gregory H. Weber, 22, of Cincinnati, and fired rifle salutes in their honor.
They were among four off-duty U.S. Marine embassy guards slain June 19 by terrorists who opened fire on two cafes in San Salvador. Thirteen people were killed in the attack.
Sgt. Patrick Kwiatkowski, 20, was buried Wednesday in Wausau, Wis. On Tuesday, Sgt. Bobby J. Dickson, 27, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was buried.
″There is no service that a chaplain or a minister dreads more than a service like this,″ Maj. Howard Mellott, a chaplain from Wright-Patterso n Air Force Base near Dayton, told 100 mourners at Handwork’s funeral.
″Your son, along with three other fine young Marines, have become to all of us, heroes, and we want you to know that we love them as you loved them. They have in the past few days become sons of America,″ Mallott said.
In Cincinnati, across the street from St. Joseph Cemetery where Weber was buried, residents stood in their front yards to watch the graveside ceremony.
The principal of Elder High School praised Weber for his drive to make the cross-country team and compete twice in state championships.
Weber, a 1981 Elder graduate, was a member of the National Honor Society and president of the school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
″In time I learned, in time Greg taught me something I should have known, that hard work and faith can accomplish wonders,″ said the Rev. Thomas Kuhn, chaplain for the cross-country team and principal of the Roman Catholic high school.
Kuhn told about 800 people at the funeral at St. Antoninus Church that ″to me, he became a hero, because heroes do things other people say can’t be done.″
Weber had been a Marine corporal. On Wednesday, the Marines posthumously elevated him to the rank of sergeant.
In Wausau, a minister told some 650 mourners at Kwiatkowski’s funeral that the young man had not been afraid to report for duty in that strife-torn Central American nation.
The Rev. Robert Monti said Kwiatkowski was asked once whether he was afraid for his safety in San Salvador.
Kwiatkowski replied, ″No. Besides, if something happens to me, we’ll meet in a much better place,″ Monti said.
Kwiatkowski’s fiancee, family, friends and local officials attended the services at the church where the Marine had once served as an altar boy.
Ten Marines carried the flag-drapped casket from the church after the service. At the graveside ceremony, four Marines each fired three rounds over the flag-draped casket.