Sgt Andrew W Harvell

LOS ALAMITOS — Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell arrived home for the last time Tuesday.

On a hot, cloudless day at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, the body of the 26-year-old combat veteran from Long Beach was returned to his family and a group of about 300 mourners.

A public memorial service and burial will be held Saturday.

Harvell died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was in crashed after being hit with enemy fire from Taliban insurgents.

The crash, which killed 38, including 30 Americans, most of whom were elite Navy SEALs, was the largest single deadliest loss for American forces in the decade-old war.
On Tuesday at 2:18 p.m. a Kalitta Charters plane landed at Los Alamitos, on which the body of Harvell was accompanied by his brother, Staff Sgt. Sean Harvell.

After the casket was removed and the family approached, an Air Force chaplain said to a hushed crowd, "America stands at a crossroads, but it stands strong because of men and women like Andrew Harvell."

The chaplain then asked for a prayer for Harvell and "for all that died on that terrible day in a helicopter crash; we pray for their comfort."

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