COLUMBUS, Ind. – Video shows the dignified transfers of two U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan, including a Hoosier soldier.
Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter of Columbus, Ind., and Spc. Christopher Michael Harris of Jackson Springs, N.C., were killed after an attack outside Kandahar on Aug. 2. Four other soldiers were wounded in the bombing.
The dignified transfer occurred on Friday, Aug. 4, at Dover Air Force Base. Both were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
According to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, a dignified transfer is the process by which the remains of fallen military members are transferred from an aircraft to a waiting vehicle bound for the port mortuary. The agency said it’s not a formal ceremony but rather a solemn occasion involving a carry team of military personnel from the fallen member’s service.
Hunter joined the Army in 2014; Harris joined in 2013. Vice President Mike Pence was present for the dignified transfer of the soldiers’ remains.
Hunter was married last October and spoke to his wife every day, according to his father. He was promoted to sergeant in June. His first mission was July 1.
The vice president released a statement regarding Hunter’s death:
“Karen and I join the Columbus community and every American in honoring the service and mourning the passing of a courageous American, Sergeant Jonathon Hunter. Sgt. Hunter was a proud Hoosier and an American hero – and his legacy will ever be enshrined in our hearts. Our prayers will be with Sgt. Hunter’s wife Whitney, his parents, his brother Marcus, and all of his loved ones and friends.”
Hunter was a graduate of Columbus East High School. The district said he’s the second Columbus East grad killed while serving in Afghanistan. Jeremy McQueary, 27, died in 2010.
The video is from Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs.