NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The body of a Fort Campbell soldier killed in action in Afghanistan returned to Tennessee on Father's Day.
Sergeant Eric Houck, age 25, was killed June 10 when a member of the Afghan National Army's Commando opened fire on U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan. Houck left behind a wife and two young children.
"Anytime we lose someone it’s lost potential," said LTC Joe Suddith Jr., who's based on Fort Campbell. "It’s what he could have been, it’s what his family would have been with him."
Fellow Fort Campbell soldiers lined the tarmac to greet Houck's body, along with airport workers and family friends. Many stood with their hands on their hearts.
Outside, strangers gathered to pay their final respects.
"When it's home and you see it up close and personal, it's no longer something on the news that's happening over there," said Kelly Preuett, who did not know Houck, but honored him along with her husband and son. "You realize these are real people who gave so much."
Patriot Guard riders also escorted Houck to Clarksville, where he will be buried on Tuesday.
"The families sacrifice every bit as much as the war fighter. He’s leaving behind a great legacy of patriotism and honor," said Patriot Guard Tennessee Captain David Westhorpe. "He won’t be there to personally teach his kids, but his legacy can be used to teach those children and others of the value of serving."
Houck's funeral services will be held at the Community Chapel on Fort Campbell on June 20 at 11 a.m.