Coweta Soldier’s Final Trip Home
By Dan Bewley, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- An Oklahoma soldier who died serving his country is back home.
The body of U.S. Army Private Coleman Hinkefent was greeted with full honors Saturday afternoon at private hanger at Tulsa International Airport.
PFC Hinkefent died December 20 in Germany after a brave fight with leukemia.
Related story: 12/22/2008 Blog: Coweta Soldier Dies In Germany
Saturday, the 19-year old was welcomed home a hero.
Dozens of Oklahoma's Patriot Guard Riders gathered for a tribute, to a soldier and his family.
"They just deserve people to come out and pay our respects," said Patriot Guard Rider Mike Kittrell.
Private Coleman Hinkefent died five days before Christmas.
The Coweta native served with the Army's 1st Armored Division.
Saturday afternoon, the airplane bringing him home was saluted by the firefighters at Tulsa International Airport. Then silence as a military honor guard greets his flag-draped casket.
PFC Hinkefent is being remembered as an avid snowboarder, who loved fast cars. But his greatest devotions were to his faith and his country. A notion that tugs at the heartstrings of Patriot Guard Rider Mike Kittrell.
"It's pretty much in my mind 24/7," said Mike Kittrell.
Kittrell served in the Army for thirty years and says the red, white, and blue is a tie between the older veterans and soldier's such as PFC Hinkefent.
"To me it's about everything. I've spent my whole life doing something in support of the American flag and America so I just feel proud to fly it every chance I get," Mike Kittrell said.
As the motorcycle engines roared in tribute and with a nearly mile long escort, Private Hinkefent began the final steps to his journey home.
Funeral services for PFC Hinkefent will be held December 30 at 11 a.m.at The Assembly in Broken Arrow at 101st Street South and 129th Street East Avenue.