Two years and a week to the day he lost his life in Afghanistan, HM3 James Ray ‘Doc’ Layton was honored once again.
The U.S. Navy Corpsman was killed in action while tending to the wounds of fellow service members on Sept. 8, 2009. On Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, he was remembered and honored as a hero at a service at Burwood Cemetery. The serviced was staged at the request of Cpl. Dakota Meyer, U.S. Marine Corps, who was being recognized in a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Meyer recovered the body of Layton and other service members and also saved the lives of many of his comrades during a fierce firefight and he received the Medal of Honor from president Barack Obama in a 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time ceremony on Thursday. Meyer asked that those whose bodies he recovered also be remembered at the same time he was receiving his medal, with ceremonies coordinated in California, New York, Georgia and New Mexico.
Layton’s family and friends, surrounded by the members of the Patriot Guard, numerous veterans, representatives from police, fire and ambulance corps, all gathered at his gravesite at Burwood for the half-hour ceremony. It also included a 21-gun salute, a fly over and the laying of a wreath.
“We remember those who have gone before us,” father Brent Layton said to those gathered to honor his son.
“But let’s also remember those that stand before us, the military, EMS, law enforcement, fire,” Layton said, noting they are today’s heroes in addition to the veterans that have come home.
Mother Nikki Freitas thanked everyone for their support and especially gave her thanks and praise to Cpl. Meyer, for risking his own life to make sure that her son was able to come home.