Death of Leavenworth – July 21, 1834

On July 15, 1834, Brigadier General Henry Leavenworth died near Washita Falls in the Cross Timbers region of Indian Territory (present-day border of Oklahoma and Texas). Leavenworth served as Regimental Commander of the 3rd Infantry Regiment from 1825-1834. In 1834, Leavenworth received orders to take command of the Left Wing of the Western Department of the Army in February 1834, and was later promoted to brigadier general.

Under the Leavenworth’s leadership, the Regiment established what was to become Fort Leavenworth in 1827. During his tenure, the Regiment was active along the border of the United States and the Choctaw Nation. Jefferson Barracks, Missouri was used as a base of operations. It was there Leavenworth started an infantry school under orders from the Army.

State Funeral for the Vietnam Unknown – May 28, 1984

On May 28, 1984, the nation honored the Vietnam Unknown with a State Funeral Ceremony and interment at the Tomb of the Unknown. President Reagan acted at the Unknown’s next of kin and received the honors rendered to the Unknown. The State Funeral was part of the Memorial Day observance ceremonies that year.

In the following years, some contended that the Vietnam Unknown’s identity was not “known but to God.” Support grew for attempting to identify the Unknown. On May 14, 1998, the Vietnam Unknown was exhumed. DNA testing confirmed the Unknown was  Air Force First Lieutenant Michael Blassie. After his identification, 1LT Blassie was reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

The crypt today stands empty as a memorial to all service members who did not return home from Vietnam. The inscription now reads, “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen 1958-1975.”

See photos of the State Funeral for the Vietnam Unknown: