A Medal of Honor recipient from Concord who died in 2017 was laid to rest Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors that included a flyover by current members of his old squadron.
Naval Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a Korean War hero who died in November at the age of 93, was interred at Arlington during an afternoon ceremony.
Among those in attendance were Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, a native of Quincy, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. His widow, Georgea Hudner, was presented with the flag that draped his casket, the Navy said in a statement.
The Naval History and Heritage Command paid tribute to Hudner on Wednesday before the event.
“Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., who passed away Nov. 13, will be laid to rest today at @ArlingtonNatl,” the command tweeted. “We honor him by remembering his service and the legacy of heroism he leaves behind. #FairWinds.”
Hudner, a former veterans’ services commissioner in Massachusetts, earned the Medal of Honor for his valor in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War in December 1950. In a statement Wednesday, the state’s current veterans secretary, Francisco A. Urena, said Hudner was “a true patriot and exemplified courage, honor, dignity and valor throughout his lifetime.”
Hudner’s heroism was recalled in a statement from the military.
“After seeing fellow aviator Jesse L. Brown of Hattiesburg, Miss., crash in enemy territory and become trapped in his plane, Hudner crash-landed his own plane near Brown’s in order to render personal assistance,” the military said Tuesday in a statement. “Hudner is also the namesake of a US Navy guided missile destroyer, the future USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), being built in Maine.”
The ship is expected to be commissioned in Boston later this year, the Navy said.
Last November at Hudner’s funeral in Concord, Brown’s granddaughter, Jessica Knight Henry, said she took comfort in the fact that her grandfather and Hudner were together in heaven.
“I think it’s an amazing thought that they’re finally reunited, after Tom risked his own life,” she said. “We’re eternally grateful for the sacrifice that he made to save him.”
Hudner’s son, Thomas J. Hudner III, delivered a poignant eulogy during the funeral. He recalled how whenever anyone asked his father about his efforts to rescue Brown, he’d simply say, “It was the right thing to do.”