Nicholson given hero's funeral

Karyn Nicholson kisses the casket of her husband as her daughter, Jennifer, looks on
...burial rites at Arlington for soldier slain by Soviet sentry

The Stars & Stripes
March 31, 1985
By Dwight Trimmer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Under cloudy skies Saturday, Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. was buried at Arlington National Cemetery just a little more than 100 yards from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The most recent victim of U.S.-Soviet mistrust, Nicholson was shot and killed last Sunday in East Germany by a Soviet sentry.

The Soviets have charged that he was taking photographs of Soviet military equipment in a restricted area.  The United States has denied Nicholson was doing anything improper.

Funeral services for the 37-year-old major were held at Fort Myer, Va., a short distance from Arlington.  His flag-drapped casket was then carried to the gravesite on a horse-drawn caisson escorted by a platoon of the 3rd U.S. Inf.

The U.S. Army Band led the funeral procession.  Nicholson's wife, Karyn, and 8-year-old daughter, Jennifer, walked behind.

At Arlington, the funeral procession was met by a group of U.S. and allied military men.  Wearing black armbands on their uniforms, the men were members of the military liaison mission to which Nicholson had been assigned.

Military dignitaries at gravesite included Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft IV, Secretary of the Army John O. March Jr. and the Army chief of staff, Gen. John A. Wickham.

Taft presented Mrs. Nicholson with the Legion of Merit for her husband's exemplary military service, and Marsh presented her with Nicholson's Purple Heart.

Before leaving the gravesite, Mrs. Nicholson and her daughter kissed Nicholson's casket.  Nicholson's father, Arthur D. Nicholson Sr., a retired Navy commander, snapped to attention and gave his son a farewell military salute.

The sounds of taps and the traditional rifle volley lingered in the gray chill.

("He was shot without warning and without provocation," Col. Roland LaJoie, who was Nicholson's commander in Germany, said at the funeral, United Press International reported.

("Ironically the Soviets killed a man who respected and studied their culture.  He, more than any one of us, was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt -- something they did not give him."

("Nick was my officer, my colleague and my personal friend," UPI quoted LaJoie as saying.  "He died doing something that he was convinced was important to national security."

(Nicholson's funeral was held as Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin met privately in Washington and agreed to hold military talks between the superpowers to try to avoid a repeat of the incident, UPI reported.  No time or place for the talks was disclosed.

(After their 70-minute meeting, Dobrynin said he and Shultz had agreed on talks between U.S. and Soviet military commanders in Europe designed to head off similar problems in the future.

(Shultz said through an aide that he was "very pleased with this agreement," and added that it was designed to "make sure there is no repetition" of the incident, UPI said.)

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Thanks to B. Knight for this article.
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