Hundreds honor unclaimed Navy veteran at Fort Jackson National Cemetery


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – A Navy veteran passed away last month with no one by his side, but Friday at Fort Jackson National Cemetery, hundreds of people acted as his family for a final salute.

75-year-old Petty Officer Third Class James Miske was born Dec. 21, 1944 in Chicago. He died alone in Columbia on May 26.

After searching for family and friends, the Richland County Coroner was unsuccessful in finding someone to claim the PO3. So the Homeless Veterans Burial Program worked with a local funeral to give the veteran a proper homegoing service. 

“Every veteran deserves to have his family with him in his final formation, and we are here for his final formation,” said Tom Yeoman, who attended the funeral.

For some, attendance was personal.

“My husband is a Coast Guard veteran, I am a military child, my father was a retired Air Force vet and my son is in Arlington at Fort Myer,” said DeeDee Milakovich. “So we felt it was the right thing to do for a veteran.”

More than 6,000 men and women are buried at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.

This is the sixth the Homeless Veterans Burial Program has held since it started last July.

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