Herbert Eugene Cleveland, Sr., born November 27, 1953, of Kansas City, MO, was called home on December 17, 2019. Herb is preceded in death by his parents, Loren and Mary Cleveland. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Demetra H. Cleveland; children, Elithia H. Del Giorno (Brian), Herbert E. Cleveland, Jr. (Corinna), and Eric L. Cleveland; grandchildren, Philip H. Heil (father, Phillip S. Heil), Chessa M. Cleveland, and Hunter Beth Cleveland; great-grandchild, Isabella Sophia-Marie Cleveland; sisters, Virginia Gaston (Bill), Nancy Asay (Ray), and Freda Ogburn (Billy);
and his aunt, Dorothy Huitt.
Herb’s active duty service included twenty-two years in the Army, where he was honored with the following merits, decorations, badges, and medals: National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (4), NCO Professional Development Ribbon (3), Army Good Conduct Medal 3rd Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Saudi Kuwait Liberation Medal, and Legion of Merit, among others. After retiring from his twenty-two years of service to the Army, Herb re-entered as a civil servant where he spent over fifteen years.
Visitation is Sunday, December 22nd from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Berryhill Funeral Home followed by a 3:00 chapel service with Rev. Tim Cole officiating. Burial is Monday, December 23rd at 1:00 p.m. EST at Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to either the Shriners Hospitals for Children or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his honor. To sign the Guestbook, click HERE.
John David Gira, 86, of Harrisonburg, Va., passed away on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at home in the care of his loving family and an amazing nursing staff. He was born April 15, 1933 in Yonkers, NY to immigrant parents from Slovakia.
In youth, John developed a lifelong interest in basketball, culminating in a coaching career of notable success. His teams and players remained close to him throughout his life, which he valued immensely. John served in the US Armed Forces and was awarded the prestigious position of Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington, Va., in which he took great pride.
John was a devoted husband to his wife, Ruth, father to three children: John, Jan and Gina Deese, their spouses, Inna Gira, and Prince Deese, grandfather to five and great grandfather to four, all who survive. He will be deeply missed and loved forever.
All services will be private and provided by Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg. Condolences may be sent to www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.
Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
We formed a Society that provided the infrastructure needed for Tomb Guards, past and present, to continue serving the mission as Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after leaving The Old Guard, and to take an active role in helping our fellow Americans honor our sacred duty to never, ever forget or forsake those that have served and sacrificed in times of war or armed conflict.
We developed an Educational Program that encourages civic and patriotic organizations, schools and everyday citizens within our communities to reach out and request, free of charge, a former Tomb Guard to speak about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Sentinel’s that stand the eternal vigil.
“The Tomb is that one place where we say to those Americans who have died, and to those who serve today and who will serve in the future, “We will not ever forsake you. We will never forget you.” – Dr. John Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense, November 1999
We also created as special Bereavement Committee to provide immediate assistance to families upon the death of a Tomb Guard, regardless of location. Society members have attended over 30 burials while providing personalized Society memorial cards and metal grave markers in the form of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Honor Guard Identification Badge.
Since our inception, we have provided direct support to the current Tomb Guard Platoon by subsidizing sterling silver Tomb Guard Identification Badges to Sentinels upon their being officially awarded the badge by the US Army. We also provide supplement drinks to help deal with the extreme heat while on duty; various clothing, and mentoring / networking opportunities with various professionals in the government and private sector.
We provided technical, financial and administrative support in the development and creation of a monument on Fort Myer that was completed in 2018 and is dedicated to the Soldiers of the Old Guard.
We established three education scholarship programs for members of the Society, Tomb Guards, and their families and children with over 24 scholarships awarded as of 2018.
We gave back to our wounded brothers and sisters in arms returning from recent armed conflict and wars by providing special clothing requested by the Walter Reed Military Hospital and donating to the Fisher House.
We sponsored, produced and marketed the award-winning documentary about the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier “Voices from the Tomb.”
We provided technical and factual support for the Special Jury Award, Remi Awards, WorldFest Houston 2009 winning documentary
“Kennedy’s Cadets” about the Irish honor guard that participated in the burial service of President John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery.
Members of the Society provided technical, and factual support for winner of the Van Gogh Award in the 2017 Amsterdam Film Festival “The Unknowns.”
We began the planning for Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021), looking once again to find a means to include all Americans and bring communities together.
We re-instituted the National Salute on November 11 at 11:00 AM, which was first conducted during the burial of the World War I Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in 1921. Since this date numerous communities, churches, fire stations and civic and patriotic organizations have included the ringing of bells (21 times) and a moment of silence into their Veterans Day programs.
We developed an educational tool kit containing materials that will help Americans reunite with those who have served and sacrificed in times of war or armed conflict. This tool kit is intended to help children learn more about the Unknown Soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery and all those who have served and sacrificed. The kit informs the groups before they visit or lay a wreath in Arlington, and then upon returning to their schools and communities, to help them share their experiences in Arlington and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
With the intent of connecting the past, present, and future, we partnered with the Boy Scouts of America to repair the neglected gravesite of Col. Gassaway Watkins, a hero of the American Revolution. In conjunction with that project we created a memorial wreath laying ceremony and received recognition by the Governor of the State of Maryland with a declaration. The Boy Scouts of America have since adopted this site and have initiated several Eagle Scout Projects which are being recognized by the Regional Council as a pilot project that should be advanced and emulated by other Scout troops elsewhere in the region.
We also supported the community of Ludington, Michigan as they commemorated the dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial in Stearns Park, and unveiled the bust of Hospital Corpsman First Class William Charrette, the Medal of Honor Recipient who selected the World War II Unknown Soldier.
In 1921, Chief Plenty Coups, of the Crow Tribe of Indians, laid his war bonnet and coups stick upon the grave of the World War I Unknown Soldier. In planning for the Centennial in 2021 we have initiated efforts to ensure the inclusion of the Crow Tribe of Indians. As a result, members of the Society were honored to lay a wreath at Chief Plenty Coup’s grave on the Day of Honor in 2017.
We collaborated with the Heartland Men’s Chorus of Kansas City on their original choral work titled “We, the Unknown” .
We joined the community of Klickitat County in Washington State to plan a commemoration ceremony and National Salute on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice at the Stonehenge War Memorial.
We collaborated with the World War I Centennial Commission, and their partners, to bring our grass-roots program, the National Salute, to a larger audience across the US and in foreign lands as we look toward November 2021 with the “Bells of Peace” program.
We formalized the partnership with Arlington National Cemetery, and other governmental and non-profit organizations, to assist with the planning of the national commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in 2021.
We are continuing to help shape the national commemoration of the Centennial of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021) with Arlington National Cemetery and the Military District of Washington.
We have also formed new bonds with key partners in the history of the Unknown Soldiers including:
- • Independence Seaport Museum
- • Naval History and Heritage Command
- • United States Capitol Historical Society
- • The Embassies of the Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom
- • American Legion Paris Post 1
- • Daughters of the American Revolution
We developed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden to allow all Americans to express their profound emotions of patriotism, remembrance and love through the unifying effect the language of flowers and trees offer. George Washington’s Mount Vernon became the first in the nation to embrace this initiative and begin planting a Never Forget Garden that could be enjoyed by visitors and staff alike.
Links are currently done but should be back up shortly …
I was recently sent an advanced reading copy of The Unknowns by the editor and was also asked to write up a review for the Society website. The Unknowns will be released on May 22, 2018. Advanced purchases can be made at Amazon.com.
Patrick K. O’Donnell. The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2018. 360pp. Cloth, $27.
Patrick O’Donnell, author of the critically acclaimed Washington’s Immortals, and several other military history titles, presents a specialized history of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War who rests in Arlington National Cemetery. He includes not only the history of the selection and burial of the Unknown, but also follows the men who would carry him to his final rest as they fought in the Great War.
O’Donnell does not set out to tell the history of the Great War. Instead he writes about how those men who would become the body bearers for the Unknown experienced the war. While he does give a larger picture of several battles at land and at sea, he places them within the context of his work. He describes the involvement of the United States and how the servicemen were integrated into the fighting in a war in Europe that had already wiped out generations of European men four years before the Americans arrived to fight.
O’Donnell also introduces several other American fighting men other than those that served as body bearers. These are the men who would lead the attacks on enemy trenches and ultimately lead breakthrough attacks that would result in Allied victory in November 1918. These men are integral to the story of body bearers for it was their dogged leadership that ended the war.
The story of the selection and interment of the World War I Unknown has been told in many other volumes, but O’Donnell goes a step further and gives details regarding the actual selection as well as the duties of the Quartermaster branch as they planned for the unknown candidates to be exhumed and their efforts to ensure complete anonymity.
While this book is not a history of the First World War, it is not it’s intended purpose. Instead it simply follows eight men through the horrors of war. It is their actions that ultimately resulted in them receiving the highest honor from their superiors: to bring home a fallen comrade that gave not only his life for his country, but also his identity. The true supreme sacrifice.
by Kevin V. Welker
SHGTUS Vice-President and Membership Committee Chair
by Gavin McILvenna (1997-98), SHGTUS President
It been six months since I became the President, and it’s been even faster paced that I imagined it would be. I set many goals for 2017 back in January for the Board of Directors (BoD), and you will soon get a brief update on where we stand and what we need to do to complete those goals. I hope that you have been getting more of an information flow from the BoD, the projects we are working on, and the daily operations of the Society. My phone and email is always available to any member, so keep reaching out to me with your questions, concerns, and ideas.
I was shocked to receive the news that Neale Cosby had passed away, and for many days at a loss for words as I tried to comprehend the immense loss. I returned to Virginia and represented the Society, but more importantly to be with the family during this difficult time. Dot, Cam, Scott, and the entire Cosby family were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from his brother and sister Tomb Guards. While there I learned even more about a man who inspired, mentored, and motivated me.
Neale faithfully served this nation for 30 years in uniform, and 20 more with the Institute for Defense Analyses. Neale didn’t have an “I love me wall” and kept those many mementoes of his service in an Army issue wooden foot locker. It was only after the memorial service that I learned his call sign on his second tour in Vietnam in 1971 as commander of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division: “Bald Eagle”. If I had known this years ago…
While I was back in Washington DC for Neale’s memorial service, I had the opportunity to be present for the last walk of SSG Dallas Kempo (2015-17). While there I spoke with COL Jason Garkey, the Regimental Commander (RCO), and he mentioned that he is working within the regiment to ensure that its unique histories and traditions are passed on to the newest member. Growing up in the Airborne Corps of the Army, I found that the unit’s traditions I was assigned to have endured since 1940, and are passed down with vigor to the youngest paratrooper. Keeping traditions alive helps younger Soldiers understand the grander meaning of the regiment that they serve in.
My personal regiment is the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and I still remember learning about the battles, deeds, and traditions including learning how to describe our unit crest down to every detail. How many of you can say the same about The Old Guard regiment? No matter how long you were a Tomb Guard, at one point you were assigned to a company within the Regiment before volunteering for the TUS. Whether you served in another unit in the Army or not, this is your regiment. While my home regiment does not have an association like The Old Guard Association (TOGA) or the Society, I will forever follow and honor its traditions. Having said that, I do feel a strong sense of unity with The Old Guard, and I think we can help the RCO in restoring and reviving the history and individual traditions of the companies that make this unit so great.
The RCO is planning two special events in 2018 and is reaching out to ensure that Tomb Guards of all generations will have the opportunity to once again stand with our Regiment. In April 2018, the Regiment will re-enact an important part of our regimental history during the 70th Anniversary of the activation ceremony at the United States Capitol. Later in the year will be a formal Regimental Ball open to all generations. Knowing that the RCO doesn’t miss any details, the Regimental Ball will be over the top, and the place to be before our Reunion in November. More information will be coming down from the RCO and TOGA, and I hope to see you at both.
Many thanks to everybody who stepped up to help remember our fallen brothers over the past quarter, and to the Associate and family members who are taking a more active role in the Society. Thank you!
As always, keep safe and try to link up with a Tomb Guard in your area for a coffee, beer, or a picture sometime!
“With heavy heart, I want to let you know that we lost a good soldier last night. He fought hard to the end.”
With these words, a dutiful and loving son announced the death of our Neale Cosby (1958-60) who passed away on June 4th, 2017, and with him part of our history in the Society as well.
You will read many expressions of love, respect and gratitude by his family, the hundreds he served with, mentored and extended his friendship. Each will speak to those qualities that inspired them, or helped them in meeting life’s challenges, their work or time of need; these qualities were uniquely Neale’s. Their comments will evidence the many interests he applied himself to. They will trumpet his profound love for his family, and for his Country. I’d like to share the comments I received from three Tomb Guards.
Meredith Smith (1958), Society co-founder remembers:
“I loved the man as role model, leader, teacher and friend as well as my officer in command. He was never off duty in his expectations whether loving father and husband or just best in his class as a fine human being. Never once did he raise his voice to achieve his goal. I would follow him without question knowing he would be right there when needed. He was best of his class. How lucky were to have this man in our lives. God Bless Neale Cosby.”
Past President Jim Cardamon (1957-58) commented upon hearing the news that:
“We lost a hero last night. Heaven gained one. What he has done for us will never be completely known. That is how he was. An American soldier died last night. I respected and loved the man.”
Gavin McILvenna (1997-98), co-founder and current President remembers:
“One of the four original founding fathers of the Society, he was the primary driving force behind the formation and incorporation of the Society in 1999, and served as our first Society President. Neale was constantly looking to make the Society not only relevant to the Tomb Guard mission and a continuation of our service to the Unknown Soldiers, but a platform to educate the world about both.”
Neale showered his love upon many things; large and small, and many people; the well-known and those all but forgotten. He never worked in half measures and always with the heart of a Tomb Guard. He embodied the very soul of the Tomb Guard’s mission and it informed every decision he made, every kindness he extended and every service he rendered. He was the embodiment of Duty, Honor and Country. He was a leader that led by precept and example. I know this because he was my friend, my mentor and my brother Tomb Guard. I had the honor and privilege to share in part of his journey and dare say a partner in many initiatives in service to our Country and the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As I work my way through Neale’s death, trying to deal with the emptiness, many remembrances and thoughts rush to compete with each other. During those first few moments and hours, I thought of historical references that mark the deaths of great leaders and loved friends: I remembered a phrase “who will draw the bow now?” and “Captain my Captain”. I fixed upon an expression of grief that said “we cannot mourn them according to their merit, for our mourning will be never ending”. And finally, General Patton’s expression that Neale and I reviewed and analyzed many times as we prepared for the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. General Patton advised us that we should not mourn, but rather celebrate and be glad that we had such men. I am not there yet, but I will say this, I will not allow death to control my thoughts of Neale. I choose to remember and to be inspired by how he lived. And when the crying is done, I will celebrate his life, his love for our country, and our service to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the “electric cord” that connects us in life and in death.
I met Neale many years ago, shortly after the very first reunion of the Tomb Guard, sponsored by the Old Guard. He called me at my office, where I was serving as the General Counsel, at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. He came in on my private line. He identified himself and sought confirmation that I was a former Tomb Guard. Funny, the way he asked it, I promptly responded, “Yes sir”. From the very moment of that introduction, I knew I was talking to someone special. He invited me to have lunch. As many of you know and I was to learn, an invitation to lunch from Neale Cosby, really meant “Fall In! We have work to do”. Little did I know that this man and work we had to do would be such a large part of my life and provide me with some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
We had that lunch, we discussed our service at the Tomb. Within minutes, I knew that he knew me in ways that only fellow Tomb Guards knew me when I was there. And it felt good. Another Tomb Guard!!!!! He then put it to me. “We had to form and organization of Tomb Guards”. As much as I supported the idea, I knew that my plate was very full. I declined. He said yes, he understood, “you have a job”. I still declined, even though I knew that I was already recruited. I kind of surrendered, with a “I can’t, do it, but I will try.” His final and parting shot to me was, “if not us then who and if not now, when. Everybody else was too old.” My rejoinder was “don’t do that to me”, and with that began my journey with Neale. He said he knew just the right guy to join us: a Tomb Guard’s Tomb Guard, smart, very successful and knew his way around complex organizations and the ways of Washington, DC whose name was Meredith Smith. Later, I suggested that I found the right guy: a young, dedicated, hard worker, smart, understood the mission and clearly loved being a Tomb Guard named Gavin McIlvenna.
And so began the hours and the days that led into months of our working together after work in my
office and the forming of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I will not go
into the details of that initiative, that can be found elsewhere. I will say that between the four of us,
no rock was left unturned in determining the who, what, where or why. It was intense, dramatic and
exhilarating to work with such fierce Tomb Guards.
And no one owns the work like a Tomb Guard!!!! My secretary would always check with me
afterwards, and asked if we were alright. She would exclaim that she never heard such intensity
and caring for anything. What was to follow was to shape the rest of my life. We formed the Society, we found more Tomb Guards, together we helped wounded warriors, we shaped an educational program, provided support to the current Tomb Guards, and supported former Tomb Guards as they reconnected with their service at the Tomb, and their families in times of grief.
Together, we launched a campaign to ensure that the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was appropriately commemorated. These are the moments that I will always remember Neale for. And in between these initiatives, I re- live the hundreds of meetings with the Regimental Commanders, the then serving Tomb Guard, Congressional staffers, Department of Defense officials, MDW Commanders, Arlington National Cemetery Officials, just to name a few. I can safely say that one of the more seminal moments occurred when we travelled to Arlington National Cemetery to view the casket of the last remaining World War I veteran. As we stood there, just the two of us, in the catacombs of the ANC Amphitheatre, we each realized, with a “fist to the solar plexus” like blow that there were no more of these veterans of the great war; that in our time at the Tomb, we saw them in the tens of thousands; a sea of white uniforms and their colors. That it was up to us, The Society, to make sure that America would continue to fulfill its sacred duty to never forget or forsake. The mantel was passed and we knew our duty. I cannot fully express the intensity of that moment.
There are many expressions of love and respect for Neale and his work. I commend to you the eulogies of his sons Scott and Cam read at the memorial service. I will close with a quote that I want to share with Neale:
“But only the Tomb’s in night time Solitude whisper Cosby is gone”
On January 18, the Society took time to remember Congressman Hamilton Fish III who passed away on this date in 1991. Congressman Fish III was a veteran of World War I (Captain, 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment “Harlem Hellfighters”) and a recipient of the Silver Star and French Croix de Guerre.
More importantly to the Society, Congressman Fish III introduced legislation which was to be among his most enduring and patriotic acts as a member of Congress. It was Resolution 67 of the 66th Congress (1920) which provided for the return to the United States the remains of an unknown American Soldier killed in France during World War I and for interment of his remains in a hallowed tomb to be constructed outside the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington.
SHGTUS Member and former 1st Relief Sentinel Clifford Redden (1970-71) and his wife made the trip from his home in Flushing, NY to the Saint Philip’s Church Cemetery in Garrison, NY. Cliff represented the Society as he paid our respects to Congressman Fish III by visiting his grave and laying a yellow rose of remembrance.
From the Education Committee:
One of the many programs that the SHGTUS provides is educational scholarships to benefit Tomb Guards, their families, and individuals sponsored by Tomb Guards. The scholarships are awarded by the SHGTUS Education Committee on a recurring annual basis to individuals meeting certain criteria specific to each scholarship.
The 2017 SHGTUS Scholarship recipients are:
Adam Dickmyer Memorial Scholarship
Joshua Wesnidge (2012-14)
Neale Cosby Scholarship
Madeleine Richardson (Niece of Dan Mancuso, 1966-1968)
SHGTUS Freedom Scholarship
Evan Koch (Grandson of George J. Koch, Sr., 1941)
Thank you to all who applied, and congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards.
Education Committee Chair