Community mourns Airman

The Wilson Post

Proud and somber was how one person described the mood of all who gathered at Nashville International Airport as the body of 1st Lt. Joshua Hovies of Lebanon was returned Monday night from South Korea.

The plane carrying Hovies body landed shortly after 7 p.m., said Walter Long, family counselor at Wilson County Funeral Home and Memorial Park which is in charge of funeral arrangements for the lieutenant.

He noted that Hovies family arrived almost an hour earlier to meet the plane on the tarmac. A large number of friends also joined the family but waited in the cargo area.

There were probably 40 or 50 cars in the procession, Long said. The Wilson County Sheriffs Department met us at the airport and escorted us back to Lebanon, along with the Patriot Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders are a group of motorcyclists who often attend and assist in funerals to honor U.S. Military personnel.

Then the Lebanon Police joined us once we were back in Lebanon. The family was very composed it was a proud moment because of him being a veteran, Long added.

Hovies, 26, died Friday, April 19, in Gunsan, South Korea in an off-base swimming accident. He was assigned to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, where he was training to apply to the Air Forces elite Special Forces corps.

Hovies funeral, to be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at First Baptist Church, Lebanon, will be conducted with full military honors, and he will receive a 21-gun salute.