A long procession honoring 1st Sgt. John Blair took his body from the Tom B. David Airport in Gordon County to Trinity Baptist Church on Monday, where his funeral is planned for Wednesday.
Blair, 38, died in Afghanistan, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle. He was an Army National Guardsman assigned to the First Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment out of Lawrenceville.
The jet carrying Blair’s remains touched down at the Calhoun Airport shortly after 10 a.m. Monday. The returning soldier was greeted by family and friends, color guards from the Georgia National Guard and the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, squads of Sheriff’s deputies and Calhoun police, city and county firefighters, Georgia State Troopers, a National Guard honor guard, members of the Patriot Guard Riders and scores of Gordon Countians.
Blair’s flag-draped coffin was carried from the airport on a flatbed truck accompanied by an Army sergeant in dress blues. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles led the procession, which was followed by fire trucks and close to 100 members of the Patriot Guard Riders.
The procession that bore his body through Calhoun to Trinity Baptist Church stretched over two miles and took more than an hour to get from the airport to the church, said Calhoun Police Chief Garry Moss.
Two fire trucks suspended a U.S. flag at the intersection of Wall Street and Court Street, where the procession made its turn to head to the church.
After the procession arrived at the church, the coffin was taken into the sanctuary for a brief ceremony for the family, friends and military personnel.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, at Trinity Baptist Church, 1170 Rome Road in Calhoun. Visitation will take place Monday and Tuesday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church. Blair will be buried in the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.