Body Of Oklahoma Soldier Killed In Afghanistan Returns Home
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - On Friday, people bundled up and lined a highway near Muskogee to honor a fallen Oklahoma soldier.
Specialist James Dutton, 25, of Checotah, was killed March 31, in Logar province in Afghanistan. He was part of the 125th Brigade Support Battalion, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which is in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
His body was returned to Oklahoma today.
The procession went to a funeral home past a line of patriotic pride.
Before the body of Spc. Dutton arrived at Davis Air Field near Muskogee, people started gathering with their flags and signs and hearts full of gratitude.
Like the Coppin family.
"I'm not a veteran, but we're patriotic," Muskogee Resident Phil Coppin said. "We fly flags every day of the year, and just thought we needed to come support the family."
The Coppins' son, Lance, served in Iraq during Desert Storm.
"I would have wanted the same thing if I would have fallen, and I wanted to support the family," Lance Coppin said.
Though most here didn't know him, they came out to honor Dutton and to show support for his parents, who now live in Checotah.
"Their son didn't die for nothing," Penny Coppin said. " Everyone appreciates what he did and [understands] what they're going through."
After the plane carrying Duttons' body landed, a procession was led by about a dozen police cars.
And was escorted by a group of dozens of Patriot Guard riders as it made its way toward Muskogee down Highway 64 to the funeral home.
Several fire trucks also made up the procession. Spc. Dutton worked as a mechanic on fire trucks while serving in Afghanistan.
In their hoodies and coats and wrapped up in blankets, folks waved their flags and showed their thankfulness for a soldier gone, but not forgotten.
"It's not only their loss, America lost a hero; we all lost a hero," Muskogee resident Lynzee Chitwood said.