ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. --
Friends, family and fellow Guardian Angels gathered on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, Va., to pay their final respects and honor the life of Capt. Mark Weber as he was laid to rest, July 9.
Weber, a combat rescue officer from the 38th Rescue Squadron, was killed in a helicopter crash in Anbar Province, Iraq, March 15, while augmenting the 308th RQS in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Mark has become part of the storied legacy of combat rescue officers and pararescuemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Maj. Jason Egger, 38th Rescue Squadron commander. “It is now up to us who continue to wear the beret, to honor that sacrifice and to understand that our words and our actions carry the full weight of our fallen comrades. We should strive to ensure that we never fall short of the standard of excellence and honor defined by those who have gone before us.”
During the service, a funeral procession including a horse-led caisson, band and the Air Force Honor Guard escorted Weber’s casket to its final resting place where a military chaplain recounted stories shared by Weber’s teammates.
One such teammate was Senior Airman Daniel, a 38th RQS pararescueman, who worked closely with Weber during training.
“Capt. Weber was forever focused on the men under his command,” Daniel said. “In the pool, he would help the last team member across before surfacing for his own breath. On a ruck, I watched him carry a teammate whose body had quit. When the team screwed up, it was Capt. Weber who shouldered the responsibility. I never saw him tired and I never saw him afraid – not because he didn’t feel pain or experience fear, but he placed his duty before his own personal desires and comforts.”
Following the remarks, the service concluded with time-honored military traditions including a seven-man firing party and two traditions from the rescue community: memorial pushups and pounding beret flashes into the top of the casket.
“It’s apparent to everyone that you cannot replace someone of the caliber of Mark Weber,” said Egger. “Instead, it is now left to us to carry his memory forward and pay tribute to him and live up to his truly exceptional example.”