Every grave at Camp Nelson National Cemetery is marked with an American flag this Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, one more was added in honor of Joseph Mance.
“He is more like being a brother than simply a friend,” said Jack Bussa.
His family, including men who served with him in Vietnam, said their final goodbyes. Mance was a West Point graduate, a captain, engineer, and recipient of four Bronze Stars for his service.
He developed, produced, and protected weapons like missiles and rockets.
“He spent I guess too many times in areas that had been covered in Agent Orange that eventually led to his illness,” Bussa said.
Beyond his service, he was known as a jokester.
“We’ve got hilarious stories and we started to tell them a little bit last night but, we can’t really tell too much to go on TV!” friend Dave Hatcher said.
That sense of humor is even being honored at his grave site.
“He would appreciate being buried in a location that overlooks the distilleries across the road!”
Through the laughs and the tears, Joseph Mance’s stories will live on with the many other brave men and women buried at Camp Nelson.
“God bless you, Joe! We miss you and we’ll probably be up there to see you sometime soon! Praise be to God!” friend Joe Henry said.
This week, 17,000 flags were placed at graves at Camp Nelson.