SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - With hands over their hearts, a saddened family watches as their fallen hero's flag covered casket is lowered of the plane.
It was a solemn ceremony as Sgt. 1st First Class Lance Vogeler's mother, father, widow and family watched six honor guard members carry the casket toward a white hearse waiting on the Tarmac at Hunter Army Airfield.
The 29-year-old died of wounds he suffered last week in southern Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit. It was Vogeler's 12th combat deployment, after seven previous deployments to Afghanistan and four deployments to Iraq.
His mother, Donna, dabbed away the tears as she joined her husband Tim to touch the casket of their fallen son. Fellow rangers stood in salute, as Vogeler's pregnant widow tried to choke back her tears.
His mother and father, who are both deaf, returned to the group as an interpreter explained what was to happen next. Long hugs were shared between the family and mournful rangers.
As the motorcade made its way to the funeral home, many supporters lined the streets holding signs and waving flags to pay their respects.
Tracie Screen, who watched the motorcade, said she paid her respect to a hero who gave themselves so selflessly to support our country and right to freedom.
Katie Peavley said she was out there to support a fellow ranger. "My husband is part of the 75th ranger regiment here at hunter and it is a terrible loss that we lost another one. [I] want the family to know we are here to support them," she said.
After a lengthy journey from halfway across the globe, a fallen soldier has returned home.
Vogeler is survived by his pregnant wife and two children.
He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. A private funeral is set for Saturday.
An account has been set up for Baby Boy Vogeler, Vogeler's unborn son, at Coastal Bank. Call the bank for more information at 912.201.4934. There are branches in Rincon, Godley Station, Pooler, Hinesville, and Johnson Square and Stephenson Avenue in Savannah.