Family, friends say goodbye to Chicago area soldier killed in Afghanistan at funeral

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Family and friends gathered at a Chicago church Tuesday to say goodbye to a soldier killed in Afghanistan last month.

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Family and friends gathered at a church in Chicago Tuesday to say goodbye to a soldier killed in Afghanistan last month.

Army Specialist Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, was one of two paratroopers killed last month in an apparent insider attack.

The paratrooper grew up on the South Side and went to high school in Chicago's northern suburbs before pursuing Army training. His remains returned to Chicago on Friday and a dignified transfer was held at Midway Airport.

Army Spec. Michael Isaiah Nance's procession from Midway Airport to the Leak & Sons Funeral Homes
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The remains of a 24-year-old paratrooper from the Chicago area killed in Afghanistan returned to Chicago Friday morning.

A visitation was held Tuesday in Country Club Hills. His family said it was his dream to serve his country.

"He died protecting our freedom. He died a hero at 24 years old," Nance's cousin, Trevor Harris, said in an emotional tribute during the funeral.

Specialist Nance had only been in Afghanistan for two weeks before his death.

RELATED: Chicago-area soldier Michael Isaiah Nance killed in Afghanistan

Nance's great uncle, Kenon Forest, said it's also important it pay tribute to 20-year-old paratrooper Brandon Kreischer, of Ohio, who was also killed in the apparent insider attack.

Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were among those paying their respects Tuesday, as was Ericka James, a high school and college classmate of Nance's mother.

"It's a devastating situation, so I just want to be here to support her as best I can," James said.

His funeral took place at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St. Nance will be interred with full military honors at Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

"Rest in peace, little 'cuz. We'll carry your memory with us," said Paul Gregoire, another of Nance's cousins.
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