Slain Navy Seal, Petty Officer Jon Tumilson, who died in the August 6th helicopter crash that killed 38 Navy Seals and American servicemen in Afghanistan, had his funeral last Friday in Rockford, Iowa.
1,500 mourners came out to a local high school gym auditorium to pay respects to the fallen Navy Seal and say their last goodbyes, but it was one mourner in particular that has grabbed the public’s attention.
Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, exhibited that dogs really are “man’s best friend,” and displayed that he was a friend until the end, lying beside Tumilson’s coffin and refusing to leave his master’s side during the funeral.
It was when Tumilson’s friend Scott Nichols walked to the podium to give a eulogy that Hawkeye followed. According to observers the Labrador “dropped to the ground and gave a sigh” and remained at the foot of the casket for the duration of the funeral.
Tumilson was so close to his dog that he reportedly referred to Hawkeye as “son.”
During his eulogy, Nichols said of his friend, “J.T. was going to be a Navy Seal come hell or high water. He wasn’t afraid of dying.”
Tumilson’s cousin took the picture and has been reported as saying, “I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn’t make it or couldn’t see what I could from the aisle.”
At the funeral service, Tumilson's sisters, Joy and Christy, described their brother as someone they always looked up to, and someone who always showed strength, courage, and determination.
Officer Tumilson was killed in the Tangi valley of Afghanistan’s Wardak province while he was riding in a Chinook helicopter that was coming to the aid of Army Rangers who had come under heavy attack.
It has been reported that a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter and caused the crash.
The helicopter crash marked the biggest loss of U.S. Special Forces since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001.
To watch a video of Hawkeye at Tumilson’s funeral, please click below.