Tuskegee Airman properly laid to rest

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jared Trimarchi
  • 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

In an unmarked grave 20 miles north of Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, lay the remains of a Tuskegee Airman. Despite his legacy, he was buried in 2009 without proper military honors.

Thanks to the help of local veteran groups, family and members of the Patrick AFB Honor Guard, Flight Officer Edwin Cowan, was given full military honors for his service, Feb. 7, 2019, at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, Fla.

Cowan served as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. More than 200 people gathered to witness Cowan and his wife’s reburial.

Senior Airman Dylan Aubrey, a relocation and retention technician from the 45th Force Support Squadron was one of the ceremonial guardsmen who participated in the reburial.

“It was a humbling experience,” Aubrey said. “As ceremonial guardsmen, we are honored in the closing of a servicemember’s military chapter for families and loved ones.”

Nearly 100 veteran motorcycle riders showed their support for Cowan and a few fellow Tuskegee Airmen were present.

Cowan’s remains were carried in a horse-drawn caisson while ceremonial guardsmen marched behind. The playing of taps was performed by one of Cowan’s great-grandsons, after the guardsmen folded the American flag and performed a rifle volley.

Technical Sgt. Grace Lugo, a ceremonial guardsman who is also assigned to the 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said being selected to represent a Tuskegee Airman’s sacrifice is an honor.

“Ensuring our fallen are properly laid to rest with military honors is our mission, Lugo added. “I’m grateful to have been a part of the reburial.”

The Patrick AFB Honor Guard team is made up of both active duty and reserve Airmen who provide military funeral honors throughout 11 counties in Florida, to servicemembers who were in the Air Force, Army Air Force and Army Air Corps.

The reburial ceremony ended with a flyover performed by two Air Force T-38 Talons.