The body of an Indiana soldier who died in a California helicopter crash is returning to his hometown ahead of a funeral service this weekend.
Officials say a vehicle carrying the casket of 1st Lieutenant Clayton Cullen will leave Indianapolis International Airport Wednesday morning. It’ll be escorted by Patriot Guard Riders.
Cullen is one of two soldiers killed earlier this month when a helicopter crashed during training at Fort Irwin, California. Cullen graduated from Indiana University’s Army ROTC program in 2015.
Shawn Stachula is an executive officer for IU ROTC and a former classmate of Cullen’s. He says training accidents come with the job.
“Unfortunately that’s the risk our soldiers are willing to take so I think that some reality checks came out of it more than really,” Stachula says. “I think that when you lose someone significantly as young as him it shows the severity of our decisions and the dedication that people are willing to make for our country.”
The IU ROTC held a private memorial for Cullen last week in the Golden Book room at the Indiana Memorial Union. The room honors all IU men and women who served in the military.
Cullen’s hometown of Bicknell will hold a public visitation Friday, followed by a funeral with full military honors on Saturday.
Miranda Fulmore contributed to this report.