Edison grad fulfills quest

When Chris Hamilton carries fallen American soldiers back onto U.S. soil, he doesn't let it get to him. Boot camp prepares you for such duties, said the 19-year-old Lance Cpl., a 2006 Edison graduate.
Aaron Krause
Jul 25, 2010


When Chris Hamilton carries fallen American soldiers back onto U.S. soil, he doesn't let it get to him.

Boot camp prepares you for such duties, said the 19-year-old Lance Cpl., a 2006 Edison graduate.

The casket-carrying ceremony, called Dover Duty, involves lifting the casket of a fallen soldier off the airplane from Iraq or Afghanistan, back onto American soil.

"It's very humbling, it's a powerful experience," Hamilton said. "It's incredibly unique. You almost feel insignificant. Little things you take for granted you appreciate."

Hamilton said Dover Duty is performed in a rotating schedule between platoons. He first performed the solemn ceremony in June, and has done it twice since then.

Hamilton said he does not experience eerie feelings before, during or after performing the job.

"They train us not to think about that," he said. "They really toughen you up mentally."

Hamilton displayed mental toughness well before entering boot camp. When Hamilton, at 13, saw on live television the twin towers crumple, he decided he would defend his country.

Beginning with his freshman year in high school, he expressed to recruiters his desire to join the military.

They dismissed his desire he said they told him he'd be running away from them by his senior year.

Hamilton told them he'd be back. And he was, each time the recruiters came to his school. The response was the same, until they apparently thought he was old enough to be taken seriously.

That moment came In June 2005 when, at age 17, Hamilton joined the Marine Corps.

He tried out for reconnaissance work, and said he scored well on the physical fitness test, but was not a good enough swimmer. Hamilton was, however, strong enough to perform Dover Duty, one of the responsibilities of the Marine Barracks 8th & I, named for its location in Washington, D.C.

In addition to Dover Duty, Hamilton's unit marches in parades and conducts ceremonies during burials at Arlington National Cemetery.

Hamilton will be based in Washington with the 8th & I until next fall, when he might possibly be deployed to Iraq. He said he recently volunteered for deployment, but others were chosen. But, he is not giving up.

Hamilton's mother, Ann, of Milan, said she supports her son in everything he does even if he goes overseas.

"I'm very proud of him, I couldn't be any prouder," she said. "I'm proud of all our young men and women over there, but at the same time it's frightening."

Chris Hamilton said he almost feels guilty knowing that a majority of people who attended infantry school with him are in Iraq.

"I want do my time," he said.


You go, Chris! ...

God Bless you! We're all proud of you, too!

Friend (Anonymous)

Good Kid!

Shirley Bores (...

My husband and I are so proud of you!

Travel Mom (Ano...

Thank you for your service!!

Navy Veteran (A...

Ooh Rah!!

delbert (Anonymous)

you go boy

Mr. and Mrs. R ...

God Bless this kid and his family and every family like them. We're very, very proud of our men and women in uniform.

swiss family......

what a moving story. i commend,and thank all of the men and women who are serving to protect this great country that we live in , i just wish that no one had to do "Dover duty" and to the brave men and women who do it , i only hope that these feelings don't show themselves at some other age in their lives. i would think that mentally, those thoughts and sad feelings would have to show themselves at some point in their lives,and i hope that when they do show up,that these men and women would be open to therapy for the things that they have expierenced

Yeah, I remembe...

Swiss, you talk out your rear. 3 weeks ago, you were all aboard the Natalie Thurston bandwagon.

Marine Mom (Ano...

Great story. I would like to add my sincere Thank You to not only this young man but to the Family. I know the PRIDE and SACRIFICE involved THANK YOU ALL and GOD BLESS and KEEP YOU SAFE.

swiss family......

to "Yeah,i remember it like it was yesterday" let me clear this up for you , it must be before your morning cup of coffee or something, if you go back and reread my posts about miss thurston, i never said that i supported or endorsed her views, what i said was that as an american, i fully support her right to express her opinions, because that is what freedom of speech is all about.and this is what makes America the great place that it is .I also said that she accomplished what her intent was from the begining,she caused an uproar, and alot of open discussion, about the topics that she brought up. mission accomplished! so how does that contridict my support of our troops, and my regret that anyone has to do "Dover duty" where our soldiers have to carry the caskets of our fallen hero's?

RE: swiss famil...

blah blah blah you bore me. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

you are correct...

I can't even read the comments left by swiss family, they don't
make any sense and the punctuation makes you run out of air when you are reading it
because the sentence never never ends it just keeps going and going
like this one is because I'm really not sure when to end it or if I should just use
a comma every once in a while like swiss family does and it just seems to never never end.

smalltowner (An...