Feb. 2014: Letter of the Month

I want to thank the United States Marine Corps and many Marines for my grandson’s funeral, which was above and beyond any I have attended in the past.

On Aug. 1, 2013, Corporal Kyle A. Boline, 23, of Robbinsdale, Minn., a Marine and my grandson, was killed in a car accident. Kyle was on terminal leave and was due to be discharged a couple of days later.

After boot camp in 2008, Kyle went to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then to two schools before reporting to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., in 2009 with his wife, Rachel. He was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13.

Kyle deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. While stationed at Camp Bastion, Kyle survived a Taliban attack where his commanding officer and a sergeant were killed and nine Harrier aircraft were damaged or destroyed.

The day after Kyle’s death, his widow notified his outfit at Yuma. The next day, Kyle’s mother and widow were visited by Gunnery Sergeant James Palmer, 4th Law Enforcement Battalion. “Gunny” Palmer said the Corps would take over all the details for a funeral.

A day or two later, GySgt Palmer went with the family to the mortuary to make funeral arrangements.

The Marine Corps arranged for Kyle’s three best friends to fly from Yuma for the funeral: Corporals Frankie Collins and L. A. Watson and Sergeant J. M. Defer. The Corps also made a new set of dress blues for Kyle.

On Aug. 8, Kyle’s funeral was held. After the service, everyone assembled outside the church. The flag was removed from the coffin, and flags were presented to members of Kyle’s family. A Marine rifle squad fired the Corps’ traditional salute, and “Taps” was played.

On Aug. 12, another ceremony was held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. Another rifle salute was followed by “Taps” and “The Marines’ Hymn.” GySgt Palmer attended and directed every ceremony.

On Aug. 15, a memorial service was held at MCAS Yuma. The Marine Corps flew Kyle’s wife, mother, father, brother and sister to the memorial service. A number of my Marine Corps buddies attended the funeral, including retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Stanley Olivera and Major Harold Roth. All said they had never attended a Marine Corps funeral that could match Kyle’s for its reverence and beauty.

Sincerest thanks to our U.S. Marine Corps and to GySgt Palmer.

SSgt Floyd E. Boline

USMC, 1948-52

U.S. Magistrate Judge (Ret)

Golden Valley, Minn.