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Family commends military on son's return; meeting with funeral home Saturday
DOVER, D.E. (WKTV) - Friends and those who knew him best say he always wanted to be a marine.
And on Thursday, the body of Lance Corporal Blaise Oleski, killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, returned to the United States.
The fallen hero's remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, just before 6 p.m. Thursday night.
His family gave permission for media coverage - a move following the pentagon's 18-year ban on journalists covering the return of fallen U.S. service members.
Oleski is believed to be the third fallen hero to receive coverage since the ban was lifted.
Barry Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements, and meeting with the Oleski Family on Saturday to discuss finalization of plans.
His parents, present at Dover Air Force Base Thursday night said in a statement:
"Needless to say although our hearts are heavy my family is very proud of how Blaise served and died for his country. We are grateful for and impressed with how the US DOD is handling the process of quickly returning our beloved son to Rome, NY.
This evening at 5:30 p.m., my wife Theresa and I spoke with the Secretary of the Navy the Honorable BJ Penn at the Spiritual Center on Dover AFB. BJ Penn as he introduced himself was very caring, personable and described what would take place on the flight line in the next hour. He explained that this ceremony was all about our fallen hero LCpl Blaise Oleski and his family.
We also received compassionate support from USAF Lt Col Sparks, the base Chaplain. Our Marine causality officer, SSgt Sharif f Harris, flew with us from Syracuse, drove us from the Philadelphia airport to our hotel and all meetings at Dover AFB. He has been extremely helpful including arranging for Blaise' s younger brother Bryce to fly home from Brisbane, Australia where he is a student at Queensland University of Technology.
My family members along with the base chaplain were driven to the flight line where Mr. Penn, the base commander and the marine silent drill team from Washington DC were waiting. Blaise's flag covered casket was at the door of the contracted 777 on the runway. The military honor guard, base commander and Mr. Penn boarded the aircraft for a prayer and prepared to lower Blaise to the tarmac.
After a 15 minute ceremony Blaise's casket was transferred to the base hearse and a small procession drove slowly to the base mortuary as the 8 marine silent honor guard , NavSec BJ Penn, base commander and a third officer followed on foot for about 500 yards.
Chaplain Sparks told us that this same ceremony has been performed for all military casualties in the past , before the current new policy of allowing the fallen service person's family and the media to attend."