Although the Dennis family accepted the coffin with the flag draped over the top, they were not convinced it carried the remains of Mark.
Mark V. Dennis was the youngest son of Charles and Vera Dennis. His father Charles had a sense of humor and decided to give Mark the Roman numeral V as a middle initial since he was the fifth child. Shortly after graduating high school in 1964, Mark enlisted in the Navy, training to be a medic. Mark hoped the medic training would help him in his aspirations to become a missionary after his military service. Although he was initially stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, he asked to be transferred so he could help with the effort in Vietnam. He was assigned as a medic and acting chaplain to a Marine unit fighting during Operation Hastings. On July 16, 1966, thirteen men boarded a C-47 Chinook helicopter before it lifted in the air. As it was flying over the Quang Tri Province, the helicopter was shot down by enemies.