Updated:FULTON COUNTY, Ga. —
The body of a Villa Rica soldier killed by enemy fire last week in Afghanistan is back home, where loved ones are preparing to say goodbye.
Dozens gathered Sunday morning for a procession from the Fulton County Airport in northwest Atlanta. They’re now heading to a funeral home in Douglasville, where friends are remembering Staff Sgt. Joshua Bowden.
The Army soldier was killed by small arms fire while on a patrol one week ago in Afghanistan.
The plane carrying his remains arrived at Fulton County Airport at 10:30 a.m. Sunday to a water salute from a fire truck.
Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach was on-site during the salute from more than 250 Patriot Guard Riders with American flags. The casket was unloaded from the charter plane and into a hearse before heading to Douglas County.
One Patriot Guard Rider spoke of the significance of Sunday's tribute.
“They’re here for our freedom, so we can have gatherings and freedoms; rights that we have. (Military personnel) give their lives for that, and that's important to us. And we want to make sure they're shown the respect and honor that they deserve," said Patriot Guard Rider Kem McNeese.
Visitation will be at the funeral home Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Then, there will be another short procession from the funeral home to Central Baptist Church in Douglasville for Bowden’s funeral, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
He will eventually be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.