Soldier welcomed home for the final time

VIDEO: The arrival of Captain Istre body
(Source: USAF)
(Source: USAF)

JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) - Residents from across southwest Louisiana joined together today to welcome a fallen soldier home for the last time.

Vinton native Captain Aaron Istre was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was killed.

He's been stationed at Fort Hood.

Just after eleven o'clock Wednesday morning, all was quiet at Chennault International Airport, all except the sound of a jet engine coming in for landing. On board was the body of Istre. His family awaited his arrival, including his wife and three children.

After arriving his body made the trip in a procession towards his final resting place. Residents lined the streets to welcome him home, including military families.

"Knowing that this man and his family had to make sacrifices. I just really appreciate what they do. Especially being in a situation where I'm kind of a family member now. It's a lot easier to understand why these people need support," said a bystander.

It hit close to home for many of the other bystanders, especially a military mom.

"Just to show our support for the sacrifices that these soldier do give for us," she said. "I just felt that it was important to come out here and show my support because god forbid it may be me in need one day."

Also in the procession were the freedom riders, there to show support and give captain Istre the proper escort. Kermit Manuel II rides for the Combat Vet Motorcycle Association.

"To see the people on the side of the road is a good example of the community being involved in something like this," said Manuel. "Because you know what, they would not have the ability to stand on the side of the road or drive the vehicles they do or the things they do if it wouldn't have been for this fallen soldier."

Captain Istre was a 1993 Vinton High School graduate and had been stationed at Fort Hood. People welcoming him home Wednesday know he died a true hero.

"I appreciate the support of the local community, a lot of local people came out and showed their support and paid their respects," said Manuel. "God be with his family."

Captain Istre's visitation will continue tomorrow morning at eight o'clock and finish at two o'clock when his funeral begins.

This will all be held at Matthews and Son Funeral Home in Jennings.

His full military burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

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