Escort brings Army specialist from Piqua home

Army specialist from Piqua laid to rest

This morning in Piqua, Army Specialist Kyle Gantt was laid to rest.

The 30-year-old died suddenly July 17 at an airbase in Honduras. He was a 2004 graduate of Piqua High School.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

During the funeral, Specialist Gantt was remembered for his sense of humor and his love for his family and animals.

He joined the army in early 2012. He spent a tour of duty in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

UPDATE @ 6:30 p.m. (July 28)

A motorcycle escort of an estimated 400 or more bikes accompanied the body of U.S. Army Specialist Kyle Gantt of Piqua from Dayton International Airport to the Jamieson and Yannucci Funeral Home on High Street.

Justin Thompson came from his home in Sidney with the group to ride in the motorcycle procession from Dayton International Airport to the funeral home. Thompson said he is a 12-year military veteran and has attended many military funerals for friends of his.

“Any way we can show support to fellow brothers in arms… we’re there, no questions asked,” he said.

Thompson said he can’t imagine the support shown to Gantt and his family.

“Welcome home,” he said when asked whether he had anything else to say.

UPDATE @ 7:40 a.m. (July 27)

The body of U.S. Army Specialist Kyle Gantt of Piqua will arrive at Dayton International Airport Wednesday evening.

A police and motorcycle escort is expected to arrive in Piqua around or prior to 7 p.m. The escort will travel Interstate 75 and exit at East Ash Street to Caldwell Street and on to Jamieson and Yannucci Funeral Home on High Street in Piqua.

Kyle Gantt was found dead July 17 at an airbase in Honduras. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

His funeral will be Friday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, followed by a military burial at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua.

Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Thursday.

UPDATE @ 5:35 p.m. (July 20): Joint Task-Force Bravo is conducting a ramp ceremony today to initiate the return of Army Spc. Kyle Gantt, of Piqua, to the United States, a public affairs official at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, said in a prepared statement released this afternoon.

“A ramp ceremony is a solemn ceremony conducted to ensure respectful and dignified transfers of the remains of fallen service members,” the official, Capt. David Liapis, USAF, director, public affairs, said in the statement.

Base officials are anticipating that Gantt’s remains will arrive at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on July 27.

Gantt’s death remains under investigation, the captain said.

FIRST REPORT (July 19)

U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Gantt of Piqua, with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, was found dead Sunday morning outside his base living quarters, according to a statement from Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras.

Gantt, 30, was found about 8:30 a.m., and declared dead shortly after first responders arrived. The cause of death is under investigation, according to officials at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

Gantt served as a Black Hawk helicopter crew member. He was deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

During his service he was awarded the Air Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star and the NATO medal, according to the prepared statement released Monday.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, members of the 1-228th Winged Warriors, and all who are grieving the loss of Specialist Gantt,” U.S. Army Col. Brian Hughes was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Our leaders, ministry teams and trained counselors are caring for those affected by this loss. We will continue to execute U.S. Southern Command’s mission, the one Spc. Gantt so proudly carried out in service of our great nation.”

Gantt leaves a wife and two children, base officials said.

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