Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Nick K. Xayasene and Sgt. Ryan H, Magana, assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, fold an American flag during the funeral of Staff Sgt. Michael B. Selavka, Jan. 10, at New Willimantic Cemetery. The flag was later presented to Selavka’s brother, Jack, as part of the ceremony. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon Thomas).

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon Thomas

Marines honor fallen WWII Silver Star recipient

11 Jan 2014 | Lance Cpl. Brandon Thomas, January 10, 2014 1st Marine Corps District

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Many have heard the phrase “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”  The Marines of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment ensure it is a phrase that is not forgotten.

The inspector instructor staff of Co. F, 2nd Bn., 25th Marines, provides military honors at the funerals of Marines who have passed away.

On Jan. 10, a funeral service was held at the New Willimantic Cemetery in Willimantic, Conn., to honor Michael B. Selavka, who was a Marine Corps staff sergeant and received the Silver Star Medal for his gallant and heroic actions during World War II.

“It’s an honor to be able to support the families of those Marines that pass away,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Bluemle, the training chief of Co. F.  “It’s never easy to do these ceremonies especially because it’s our brother or sister who is being buried.  Whether you served in World War II or are serving now, Marines are all family.”

Along with the Marines, friends and family surrounded the burial site to pay their respects to a hero.  There was not a dry eye amongst the crowd as Selavka was lowered into his resting place.

“When my dad had gone off to war in Vietnam, I often went to spend time with my uncle,” said retired Coast Guard Capt. Michael Selavka, Selavka’s nephew.  “He was just a huge influence on my life.  He was always a gentleman and inspired me to seek a career in the service.  He will be missed.”

Marines, both past and present, share a bond that can never be broken regardless of the time in which they served, according to Pfc. Tien M. Le, a rifleman assigned to 2nd Bn., 25th Marines.

“It’s an honor to be able to have a part in ceremonies like this,” said Le.  “This Marine was a Silver Star recipient, he was a hero, it’s because of men like these that I can call myself a Marine today.”