Home News Widow furious about grave of Marine lost to PTSD after Kuwait deployment

Widow furious about grave of Marine lost to PTSD after Kuwait deployment

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A widow in Colorado’s capital is furious after her deceased Marine veteran husband’s headstone was allegedly mislabeled, requesting that a national cemetery correct what she feels is a mistake.
After taking his own life due to struggles with PTSD in December of 2017, Marine veteran Elias Vigil was buried with full honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery, located in Denver.

“Elias was full of life. He was an outdoorsman,” Vigil’s widow, Kimberly Vigil, said of her late husband and father of their four children. “He was a family man. He loved serving in the Marines.”

Created in 1887, Fort Logan was an Army installation until 1946, where it remained inactive until the National Cemetery was established in 1950.

During his time in the Marines, Vigil reportedly served in Kuwait, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“He was very silent about it. We talked a little bit when I went with him to therapy, but it was very small sessions,” Kimberly said.

According to CBS Denver, Kimberly was appalled when she discovered that his headstone would bear his overseas service recognition as “Persian Gulf” instead of “Iraq.”

“On the headstone they were going to put Persian Gulf,” Kimberly said. “They told me that they now put everybody that served in that region in one category.”

For Kimberly, she feels her husband was cheated out of a proper headstone.

“It’s a total dishonor of service,” said Kimberly, who presumably associated “Persian Gulf” with Operation Desert Storm, a conflict that took place in the early 1990s. “Like he doesn’t matter. Like what he did for our country doesn’t matter.”

However, if reports of Vigil’s Kuwait deployment are correct, then Fort Logan National Cemetery would likely be correct in placing his overseas service as “Persian Gulf,” as Kuwait and Iraq are different countries.

Verily, a spokesman for the Fort Logan National Cemetery says they decide what to put underneath a service member’s name on their headstone based on the period and service area when the person served.

Going off of VA records of where an individual served, if said service member served in the area after 1990, the headstone of a service member serving during that period in that service area can be inscribed with either “Persian Gulf” or “Iraq.”

To the bereaved Mrs. Vigil, this simply will not do.

“It hurts to see his name on there and knowing that it says ‘Persian Gulf,’ it’s just a slap in the face,” she said. “I would like him to have a new headstone that says Operation Iraqi Freedom. That’s where he served.”

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