The body of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Gregory Childs who died in Afghanistan on May 4 returned home to Southeast Arkansas on a small jet Friday morning. Childs, 38, of Warren died of a non-combat related illness in Kabul, according to U.S. Rep. Mike Ross.

Childs’ flag-draped casket arrived at Monticello Municipal Airport at 9:30 a.m. Family members were waiting at the airport along with numerous area residents, veterans, servicemen and women, and law enforcement officers.

[vimeo 42030986] The crowd fell silent as the jet arrived. Family members briefly stepped up to the casket before it was placed in an awaiting hearse which was led to the Bradley County line by a procession of Drew County and Monticello police vehicles.

Master Sgt. Gregory Childs

“Our state and nation lost a true patriot in the passing of Master Sergeant Childs,” Congressman Ross said in a news release. “His passing comes much too soon and he will be deeply missed. All Americans owe Master Sergeant Childs their eternal gratitude for his service to our nation. There is no way we can ever thank Master Sergeant Childs or his family enough for his service, but we can honor his legacy and life and pledge together to support all of our men and women in uniform who heroically serve this great country of ours. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extraordinarily difficult time.”

Childs was assigned to the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir, Va.