11,000 NY veterans got military honors at burials this year

31 Dec 2019 | 01:59

(AP) The New York Army and Air National Guard are on track to provide military honors at the burials of about 11,050 veterans during 2019, the state Division of Military & Naval Affairs said Dec. 28. The expected total is close to the numbers in the last two years. Among the veterans who received the honors this year was Sgt. Francis S. Currey, who was one of the last three surviving Medal of Honor recipients from World War II when he died in October at age 94. Currey, of Selkirk, received the medal for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge. The New York Army National Guard also provided honors for Pfc. Needham Mayes, who had successfully appealed to the Army to reverse his 1956 dishonorable discharge, allowing him to be buried in a veterans' cemetery with military honors. Mayes, of New York City, died on Veterans Day at age 85. He had been dishonorably discharged after a bar fight and shooting at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. His lawyers noted inconsistencies in witnesses' accounts of what happened. Supporters also suggested that race factored in the punishment of Mayes, who was black and serving less than a decade after President Harry Truman issued an executive order to desegregate the military. In New York, the burial honors generally involve two National Guard soldiers or airmen presenting an American flag to the veteran's family and sounding taps on an electronic bugle.