MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida Marine who gave his life defending his country during the Vietnam War was given a special send-off, as his body is being transferred to the Arlington National Cemetery.
For 90-year-old Georgie Carter-Krell, the mother of U.S. Marine Pfc. Bruce Carter, the journey that brought her son’s remains to Miami International Airport on Friday morning was more than five decades in the making.
“I’m so content that, if I could purr, I would,” she said.
Flanked by family members, Marines and police officers at MIA, Carter-Krell said she is very please to send her son off to Washington, D.C.
“He deserved to be in Arlington. He should have been there years ago, but we finally accomplished that,” she said.
Carter-Krell was joined by some of the people who helped her get her wish 51 years later.
7News cameras captured the moment Carter’s casket, draped with an American flag, was loaded onto an American Airlines plane.
“It takes a lot of horsepower — political, military — to make something like this happen,” said Randy Stillinger with American Airlines’ Military and Veterans Initiatives. “It’s very unusual to transport remains of someone who has been passed away for so long and to be in Arlington National Cemetery.”
Carter was 19 when he was killed in Vietnam on Aug. 7, 1969.
U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lewis Slagle, Ret., described Carter’s heroic act.
“During a hostile firefight, a hand grenade was thrown, and he jumped on the grenade to help save his fellow Marines, giving his life, knowing full well what the consequences would be,” he said.
The Medal of Honor recipient was buried at Vista Memorial Gardens in Miami Lakes on Aug. 25, 1969. His remains exhumed Thursday to prepare for the transfer.
Seeing her son’s name at Arlington is something Carter-Krell has always wanted.
“She’ll have a peace of mind, as will her daughters and her granddaughter, that this has been accomplished,” said Slagle, “and he will be with the other heroes that have served and sacrificed for this country.”
Once the final ceremony is done, Carter-Krell said, she’ll know her son is home.
“If he’s in Arlington, he’s with all his buddies. He fought with them, died with them,” she said. “I always tell him, ‘Until we meet again.'”
Carter will be buried with full military honors at Arlington on Wednesday.
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