OKLAHOMA CITY, August 20, 2001 -
Vernon Castle of Jet, Oklahoma has finally come
home to the country he died for.
Castle was buried at Arlington National
Cemetery this week, with his surviving brothers
and sisters in attendance. It was a ceremony
with full military honors and for good reason.
"There wasn't any job he would ever shirk,"
sister Charlene Bathhurst said.
Vernonís brother Elmo remembers him - Vernon
Castle was a football and baseball player from
Jet, then he joined the marines.
In 1942 he volunteered for a dangerous and
secret mission behind enemy lines in the Pacific.
It turned into a bloodbath as the Japanese were
waiting. So Vernon and the other marine raiders
shot it out.
"He was shot yet he...it didn't kill him that
instant. But, he was able to crawl close
enough so he could get some hand grenades in their
machine gun implacement," Bathhurst said.
Vernon and the other raiders were buried in a
But the story doesn't end in 1942. Under
pressure from the Marine Raiders Association the
Pentagon renewed it's search for that mass grave
site and found it last December. That discovery
lead to the ceremony at Arlington.
And it is helping to heal wounds nearly 60
"It's a closure for the family. We knew
where he was killed and that he was buried in a
mass grave, but now we know where he definitely is
Back home in the land of freedom -- a
homecoming for an Oklahoma