TIMONIUM — The 54th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens will take place on Monday, May 31, at 10 a.m. The ceremony will honor six service members with ties to Maryland who were lost within the last two years and pay tribute to all men and women of the Armed Forces who have paid the highest price in defense of the United States of America. The families of the military service members being honored this year will be in attendance.
The ceremony will be lived streamed starting at 10 a.m. Monday. To watch the ceremony, click on the link on the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens’ website (www.dulaneyvalley.com ). Or to go directly to the live-stream, visit the Memorial Gardens Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dulaneyvalleymemorialgardens.
In light of the recent lifting of restrictions for outdoor events, an area will be designated for members of the public who wish to attend. Since limited seating will be available, members of the public are encouraged to bring their own chairs if they wish.
Honored at the ceremony will be:
• Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, United States Marine Corps, age 43, died on April 8, 2019. The Staff Sergeant was one of three marines struck and killed by a roadside bomb during a convoy near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. In addition to his service as a Marine reservist, Christopher Slutman was a dedicated firefighter. He was a life member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County. He was also in fire service in New York City, where in 2014, he received a medal for pulling an unconscious woman from a high-rise fire in the Bronx.
• First Lt. Hugh C. McDowell, United States Marine Corps, age 24, died on May 9, 2019 from injuries sustained in a training exercise when his Light Armored Vehicle rolled over at Camp Pendleton, California. Lt. McDowell was able to shout a warning as the vehicle began to flip and saved the gunner in the twin turret on his left, quickly pushing the corporal down into the safety of the heavy armor, but it was too late to save his own life. The six fellow Marines survived the accident with non-serious injuries. Lt. McDowell, a decorated platoon commander, was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Chevy Chase. He was a former resident of Chestertown.
• Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, United States Navy, age 23, died Dec. 6, 2019, one of three victims in the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting. Ensign Watson’s heroic actions at the time of the shooting saved countless lives. Although shot multiple times, he made it outside where he was able to flag down first responders to provide a description and location of the shooter. A recent graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he received his commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy with a degree in mechanical engineering and was training to be a Navy pilot. Ensign Watson was posthumously awarded Wings of Gold and naval aviator status.
• Major Moises A. Navas, United States Marine Corps, age 34, was one of two marines killed by enemy forces during the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, March 8, 2020. They were supporting Iraqi security forces in a raid to destroy an Islamic State hideout in a mountainous area near the town of Makhmour. These deaths were the first American combat fatalities in the country in 2020. Major Navas, a highly decorated Marine, was a special operations officer who grew up in Germantown, (Montgomery County), and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004. He supported two unit deployments to Japan before becoming a Marine Raider in 2016, where he deployed to Iraq multiple times.
• Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, United States Army, age 44, died in Iraq on March 30, 2020 in a non-combat incident. Sgt. 1st Class Hilty, from Bowie, Prince George’s County, was in Erbil supporting the Inherent Resolve mission. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. Hilty joined the Army in April 1999 as a combat engineer and most recently served as a petroleum supply specialist. The highly decorated soldier was deployed to Afghanistan three times before starting his most recent deployment to Iraq in October 2019.
• First Lt. Dax Conrad, United States Army, age 26, died on October 16, 2020, after battling medical complications that arose while conducting training to earn the Expert Infantry Badge. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State at the time of his passing. 1LT Conrad was an infantry officer assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment (Skyes’ Regulars). He joined the Battalion while the unit was conducting a four-month training session in the Philippines. Known as an exemplary infantry officer, he served as the Platoon Leader for First Platoon and then Executive Officer for C Company. First Lt. Conrad was a resident of Bel Air in Harford County.
“We are deeply committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces and are pleased to provide options for the public to view the ceremony. Whether you watch the live-stream, view the taped version later in the day, or choose to attend, our hope is that everyone will take a moment to remember the true meaning of the day and pause to reflect on the dedication of the military personnel who have died serving our country,” said Jack Mitchell, president of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
The observance will include a wreath placement, tributes to those lost, taps and a 21-gun salute. The United States flag will be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, per Memorial Day protocol.