PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The body of a local U.S. Airman killed in a helicopter crash overseas returned home today.
“We’re here to honor the passing and escort Capt. Sean Ruane with the United States Air Force to the Copeland Funeral Home for his honors,” said Howard Jankey, the captain of the Patriot Guard Riders.
A graduate of Montour High School, Capt. Sean Ruane, of Kennedy Township, came home Thursday.
But not the way his friends, family and fellow military members had hoped.
The Air Force captain who had already completed three deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan was supposed to return home later this year for good.
But a helicopter crash, earlier this month, while on a low-level training flight in England left a young wife a widow and an infant son without a father.
His parents and extended family are trying to come to terms now with overwhelming grief.
Capt. Ruane was assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron. The entire crew was killed in the crash. Capt. Ruane’s remains were met by family members at the 911th Airlift Wing.
Led by local police and Patriot Guard Riders, the fallen captain began the first leg of his final journey home.
There were signs along University Boulevard as the slow-moving procession made its way to the funeral home to prepare for visitation and final services this weekend.
The captain was received and transported in what the Air Force calls a dignified transfer in which the remains are presented to the family with an honor guard and then transferred to the funeral home.
Those who braved the cold today say it’s so little for the men and women who give so much.
“We still have American military overseas; we still have American military serving here. They need to be honored. They need to be recognized,” Jankey said.
The first viewing was held tonight at Copeland Funeral Home in Moon Township. Capt. Ruane’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Ohio Township.
He’ll be buried at Resurrection Cemetery, also in Moon.
Officials in Kennedy Township are asking people to line the streets as the funeral procession makes its way through the township this weekend.
The procession is expected to reach Forest Grove Road in Kennedy Township around 10:15 a.m. Saturday. From there, it will follow Pine Hollow Road to McCoy Road and then onto Neville Road.
Firefighters will hand out flags to people along the route.
The fire department will also use their ladder trucks to form an arch during the procession.