On Saturday, May 27, friends and family, along with many others, filled the Cleburne County Memorial Gardens for the memorial service in honor of Staff Sergeant Robert Dale Van Fossen.
In November 1952, Van Fossen's plane crashed into the southern section of Mount Garnett. The plane was carrying 51 military personnel. It departed from Tacoma, Washington to an air base outside of Anchorage, Alaska.
Decades later, with the help of the United States military, some patience and a little prayer, Van Fossen’s remains were recovered and returned to a place of rest in Heber Springs.
Kevin Caid, Van Fossen’s newphen, spoke about the incident that occurred in 1952 and gave attendees a history on Van Fossen’s early childhood and high school years.
“He was a bright student and excelled in school,” said Caid about his uncle’s early years at Greenbrier High School.
Caid continuing telling stories of his late uncle's youth and his love for the United States military.
“He had full intentions of making it his career,” Caid said while speaking about Van Fossen’s military experience.
Along with family and friends of the Caid and Van Fossen family, many members of the American Legion and others representing all branches of military paid their respects to the fallen hero.
“Thank you for your attendance today in honoring my uncle, Robert Dale Van Fossen” said Caid. “As I stand here today there are 17 families waiting for the same call."