Staff Sergeant Liam Flynn, the Irish-born US Marine who was killed last month in a helicopter crash off the Florida coast during a training exercise, was laid to rest Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Flynn, 33, from Clane in Co. Kildare, was one of seven marines and four soldiers aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound along the Florida Panhandle during a training exercise in foggy conditions. No one survived the crash. The service members were part of a special operations unit from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Flynn immigrated to the US in 2002. He was a member of the U.S. military for 12 years and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is survived by his wife Destiny, his 1-year-old daughter Leilani, his parents Billy and Ann Flynn, and his six sisters and three brothers.
Simon Carswell, the Washington Correspondent for the Irish Times, reported from Flynn’s funeral at the Fort Belvoir army base in Virginia and his burial at Arlington.
He described an emotional ceremony as Flynn was buried with full military honors in the same cemetery that is the eternal resting place of some of America’s greatest heroes, from Medal of Honor recipients to President John F. Kennedy.
Flynn’s wife and daughter, his parents, and six of his seven siblings were present, as were many of his colleagues from the army and the navy.
According to the Irish Times, Fr. Robert Spencer, a navy chaplain who spoke during the funeral, said “Ireland has given up one of her sons to defend freedom and for that we are grateful. You raised a wonderful son – very courageous, very brave – and we have reaped that benefit.”
At Arlington, Flynn was honored with a three-volley salute. Two badges – one of the Irish flag and the other bearing the Marine Raiders insignia – were placed on his casket, which his mother sprinkled with holy water from Knock, the sacred site in Ireland, before Flynn was laid to rest.