From a contemporary press report: 6 July 1988
The remains of U.S. Navy Captain William E. Nordeen, the military attache in Greece killed by a terrorist bomb last week, arrived at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Tuesday to be prepared for burial. The C-5B transport plane arrived at the base from Athens, Greece, to a brief ceremony. Nordeen will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery.
Vice Admiral L.A. Edney expressed his condolences to Nordeen's family. ”We in the Navy are determined that Captain Nordeen's loss not be forgotten,” Edney said in a statement. Nordeen's wife, Patricia, and 12-year-old daughter, Annabel, accompanied the remains on the flight.
Captain Nordeen was laid to rest with full military honors in Section 7-A of Arlington National Cemetery.
Patricia Nordeen was handed a box containing an American flag used to drape the coffin of her husband, who was killed by a bomb in Greece.
July 7, 1988:
A U.S. Naval Officer killed by a car bomb last week in Athens was buried at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, July 6, 1988, with full military honors.
Captain William E. Nordeen, 51, of Centuria, Wisconsin, was interred after a brief graveside service that followed a private ceremony in a cemetery chapel. About 400 people attended, including Nordeen's widow and 12-year-old daughter.
Nordeen, defense and naval attache at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, was killed June 28, 1988 by a car bomb detonated by remote control as he drove by. Nordeen's armor- plated sedan was thrown across the street, where it lodged in
a steel fence, police said. He was thrown from the car by the blast.
After the reading of the Lord's Prayer, the firing of a 21-gun salute by a Navy honor guard and the playing of Taps, the American flag over Nordeen's casket was folded and handed to his widow, Patricia Anne Nordeen. She briefly clutched it to her chest, then put it in her lap and placed her daughter's hand on it.
Nordeen's mother, Edna Helena Capello, sobbed as she was handed a second flag by an honor guard. Also attending the funeral were Nordeen's brother, Navy Captain Michael Brent; Navy Secretary William Ball and Greek Ambassador George D. Papoulis.
A left-wing Greek terrorist group known as November 17 asserted responsibility for the bombing. The group, which is accused of 11 other assassinations in the last 13 years, also threatened to kill more Americans until the United States abandons its four bases in Greece. The two countries are negotiating a new base agreement. The United States is offering a reward of $500,000 for information about the person or persons who killed Nordeen. Nordeen's family said he was due to retire in August after 30 years in the Navy.
Ceremony, US Embassy Remembers Life of Captain William Nordeen
Athens (June 27, 2001) – On June 27th, Greek and American staff at the U.S. Embassy participated in a private ceremony at the chancery to mark the 13th anniversary of the murder of U.S. Navy Captain William Edward Nordeen. Nordeen was killed by a bomb blast near his house in Kefalari on the morning of June 28th, 1988. The Greek terrorist group 17 November claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred shortly before Nordeen was due to leave Greece.
U.S. Ambassador to Greece R. Nicholas Burns officiated at the ceremony, which recalled the life of the man and the injustice of his death. “In a cold-blooded attack thirteen years ago, the 17 November terrorist group killed Navy officer, husband and father William Nordeen. An explosive device was rigged to a car near his house, and detonated as he passed by on his way to work,” said Ambassador Burns, shortly before recalling the family Captain Nordeen left behind.
“This senseless attack accomplished nothing other than to cause extensive suffering and grieving among members of Captain Nordeen’s family and his friends and colleagues at the Embassy and around the world,” added Ambassador Burns. “Today's ceremony attests to our commitment to remember the five members of this Embassy community who have been killed by 17 November. We will never forget them. As we remembered Richard Welch in a ceremony on December 23, 2000, the 25th anniversary of his assassination, so will we remember Captain Nordeen, Captain Tsantes, Nicholas Veloutsos and Sergeant Roland Stewart every year on the anniversaries of their cruel murders.”
“Working with our partners in the Greek government, we will not rest until the assassins of the 17 November terrorist group have been brought to justice.”
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard