DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — The crew aligned itself across the aircraft’s open cargo hold and stood sentry over the delivery: a case containing the body of Corporal Daniel L. Linnabary II, who was killed in Afghanistan two days earlier.
For the next 20 minutes, as Linnabary’s family looked on, the painstakingly rehearsed ceremony unfolded as it has so many times over the last decade. A chaplain’s whispered prayer. An honor guard slowly transferring the case to a mortuary truck. A final salute. Aside from a few barely audible commands and muffled sobs, the ceremony last week was silent.