Loved ones gather to mourn airman killed in Afghanistan

December 6, 2018
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Family members of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin arrive for his memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Moon Township, Pa. Loney Duez, Elchin's stepfather, right, walks with Elchins mother Dawna Duez, center, along with brothers Aaron Elchin, second from left, and Zachery Bly, left. Elchin was one of three servicemen killed last month when their vehicle was destroyed by an improvised explosive device in Andar, in Afghanistan's Ghazni Province. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

HOOKSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Friends and family are paying their respects to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin at a public memorial service.

The services got underway Thursday afternoon at Impact Christian Church, in Moon Township.

Due to strict military rules, Elchin’s body didn’t return to Beaver County for the service.

Loney Duez, Elchin’s stepfather, tells the Beaver County Times that a local service was important because he had so many friends and family.

Motorcyclists of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Elchin’s family on Interstate 376 from their home to the church.

Several fire departments were stationed along the route, displaying U.S. flags in tribute.

Elchin was one of three service members who died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last week. A fourth— Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, from Export, Pennsylvania — died this week.

Elchin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.