Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson was laid to rest Friday in Rockford, Iowa, where an estimated 1,500 mourners came to pay respects for the fallen Navy SEAL, including his dog Hawkeye. In fact, Hakeye’s loyalty to his owner at the funeral was visible, creating a heart-wrenching image as he laid down by the casket of his owner during the entire service:
KIMT-TV captured the scene on video:
The 35-year-old Tumilson died Aug. 6, when a rocket-propelled grenade disabled the helicopter he was in. It crashed, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
“‘Hawkeye is/was his loyal ‘son’,” wrote Tumilson’s cousin Lisa Pembleton in an email to The Blaze. ”To say that he was an amazing man doesn’t do him justice. The loss of Jon to his family, military family and friends is immeasurable.”
Fellow Navy SEALS told KIMT-TV that Jon was someone with unmatched work ethic and character.
Last week hundreds of people were out at the airport to welcome the plane that returned his remains home, video from Northern Iowa Today:
Perry Beeman of the Des Moines Register writes that Tumilson wrote a class paper when he was 15 about how he wanted to spend the next 20 years as a Navy SEAL:
“‘J.T. was going to be a Navy SEAL come hell or high water,’ friend Scott Nichols said of Tumilson, who was born in Osage on July 1, 1976, the nation’s bicentennial year, and grew up in Rockford.
Outside the service at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock gym, two cranes hoisted a huge U.S. flag in Tumilson’s honor.
‘If J.T. had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others, he would have went anyway,’ said Boe Nankivel, another friend.
Tumilson leaves behind parents George and Kathleen, sisters Joy and Kristie, many nieces, nephews and cousins, and of course, Hawkeye.
A relative of Tumilson wrote to the Blaze that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Frogman238 Memorial Fund, First Security Bank and Trust, 201 West Main Ave., Rockford, Iowa 50468, (641)756-3361, to honor Tumilson’s memory.
(H/T: Fresh 1025 radio)