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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Julius Victor "Funeral" SNAFU

Comrades in Arms:

On Monday 21 May 2007, I alerted you that JULIUS VICTOR, who served in Viet Nam with the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", had passed away.

Julius Victor was the only other resident here at the Soldiers' Home, beside myself, who was in the 501st Signal Battalion ("Vox Aquilae", or "Voice of the Eagle") in Viet Nam, and in that capacity, Julius Victor operated the Military Affiliate Radio System (i.e., "M.A.R.S.") for the 101st Airborne Division.

Julius Victor was born in 1931 on the Army's birthday, 14 June.

Like myself, he had also been adopted as a baby, and he asked me to use my computer to try and find out about his ancestors, which I did.

The "VICTOR" family originated in Holland.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally was notified of services to be held this morning, at 1000 Hours, Wednesday 06 June 2007 in the Rose Chapel at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

This was not sufficient time for the National Capital Area Chapter of the 101st Airborne Division Association to organize and be in attendance at the services.

So, I dressed up in my Sunday best, wearing my medals, and went to the funeral.

It's a good thing the guys from the National Capital Area Chapter did not drive all the way over here to the Old Soldiers' Home.

It was NOT a funeral.

It was a memorial service.

There was no body and no casket.

After the service, I inquired of the Catholic priest, Chaplain Higgins, when was the funeral held, where was Julius Victor buried, and did he receive the military honors to which he was entitled?

Chaplain Higgins was unable to tell me what became of Julius Victor.

How can a body just disappear?

He wanted to know where the expected representatives were from the 101st Airborne, and I explained that no one was notified until it was too late.

I still do not know if old soldiers who die here at the Soldiers' Home receive the military honors, for I never see any uniformed military personnel at any of our funerals.

The Soldiers' Home used to have its own mortician and mortuary, but that has been closed down.

So now, bodies are sent to private funeral contractors, and no one knows what becomes of them, especially if they have no family or friends to ask questions.

When we had our own mortuary, we were able to visit and bid farewell to our comrades, and courtesy transportation was provided to and from the burial.

I do not know why the administrative staff here at the Soldiers' Home never put a notice in my mailbox, or came to my room.

I'm extremely reclusive and seldom leave my room for any reason.

I leave the ringer turned off on my telephones, but I can still receive voice messages on my computer, and I constantly check my e-mail.

Chaplain Higgins claimed he tried to call me, but he never left a message in my voice mail.

Chaplain Higgins claims he sent me an e-mail, but I never received it.

During our conversation, he kept trying to shift responsibility for the debacle on ME, as though this whole thing was MY fault!

Unfortunately, I do not know of any chain of command or accountability beyond this Soldiers' Home, so the administrators and staff can do just about anything they want.

Anyway, I reckon I've done all I can do.

Thank you.

John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan.

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