Hundreds of local Soldiers, law enforcement personnel, Family and friends gathered at the Fort Huachuca Main Post Chapel, Dec. 12, to give their final farewells to Staff Sgt. John Mariana, who passed away Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28.
Forty-seven motorcycles carrying members of the Patriot Guard and the Combat Veterans Association escorted Mariana’s Family as they arrived at the church, with an American flag mounted on the back of each bike.
Mariana, a New York native, enlisted in the Army on Aug. 29, 2004 as a military police officer. His duty stations included Fort Riley, Kan.; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Fort Carson, Colo.; and multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In August 2012, Mariana was assigned to Fort Huachuca as the military working dog training noncommissioned officer, or NCO, and the senior military working dog handler.
Following his eulogy read by Sgt. 1st Class Craig Hannum, 18th Military Police Detachment, Family and friends watched a slideshow honoring Mariana and his accomplishments.
Mariana’s supervisors and colleagues spoke gently about the committed and loving Soldier he was.
“All who knew John knew that he lived his life in a truly superlative manner,” said Maj. Carrie Magaoay, Directorate of Emergency Services provost marshal. “We know he lived and breathed the Soldier, NCO and Military Police Creeds. To call him an exemplary military police officer and noncommissioned officer would be accepted by all who knew him and that role in his life.”
Following remarks and prayers from Chaplain (Capt.) Bruce Duty, Mariana’s wife Kerina was presented with a Meritorious Service Medal signifying his nine years of exemplary service.
As the service closed, the Fort Huachuca Select Honor Guard fired a three-volley salute and a bugler played “Taps.” Row by row, attendees rendered their final salutes and said their goodbyes.
After the memorial, Mariana’s Family gathered at the military working dog kennels, where they were presented with a shadow box showcasing his entire military career. Kerina, who is a prior military working dog handler, was also presented with Mariana’s Army working dog Benny, who will now reside with her.
In addition to his wife, Mariana is survived by his son Cason, his mother Anne Marie, his father Allen, his godfather Michael, and his siblings Michael, Jason, Jessica and Devin.