Soldier's body returns home

Patriot Guard escorts Army Sergeant Jason McLeod
December 2, 2009 (CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.) Army Sergeant McLeod was killed in a mortar attack on November 23. His body was escorted from a DuPage County airport to a funeral home.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the plane carrying the McLeod's body landed. Inside the hangar, the Patriot Guard waited as the casket was transferred from the plane to the waiting hearse.

More than two dozen friends and family gathered inside while the emotional transfer ceremony took place.

"We don't like to think of that. What we would rather do is welcome him home on returning. Unfortunately, this is just something that has to be done. We are here to honor the family, the fallen hero and the communities," said Dave Meyers, Patriot Guard.

McLeod, a Humvee mechanic, is the 44th Illinois service member killed in Afghanistan. He died just three weeks before he was due to come home on leave. Two sisters who didn't know McLeod came because they are aware of what is going on in the nation, and it hits close to home.

"You feel for this family, and you want to come out and show your support," said Kathy Hoffmann.

"I have a 26-year-old son who is at home not involved in the military, and this family doesn't have a son anymore," said Denise Keltes.

McLeod leaves behind a wife and young daughter. He will be buried in Cary, Illinois, Friday.

The procession carrying the casket to Crystal Lake is passing by all three of McLeod's schools, where students are standing outside to honor him as the casket goes by. The final stop is the Davenport Funeral Home.

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