Fallen soldier honored with tarmac ceremony, motorcycle procession on final trip home

Local

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A fallen Greenwood soldier returned Thursday night to Indiana. His final trip home was recognized with an airport tarmac ceremony and a motorcycle procession to his final resting place.

Staff Sgt. Andrew St. John, 29, was killed Aug. 15 in a military training accident at Fort Hood, officials said.

He had been serving as an embedded observer controller and trainer with Operations Group Wolf, an Army National Guard entity.

He leaves behind his wife, Ashton, and their two young children. 

“[St. John] was respected and admired for his great love for his country and family,” 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment commander Lt. Col. Chad Pittman said in a news release. “He continually sought ways to ensure the success of subordinates, better himself as a leader and contribute to the achievements of the organization. My deepest sympathy for his family at this sad and difficult time.”

St. John was born and raised in Martinsville. He graduated from Martinsville High School in 2009.

“Many of his classmates, family and friends will recall his title of ‘Senior Prom King’ of which he often reminded others,” his obituary said. 

While still in high school, St. John enlisted in the United States Army and was a member of the Charlie Company 1-325th 82nd Airborne Infantry Division. He later joined the Army National Guard, where he served for a decade. 

His overseas service included stints in Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq. In Indiana, he was certified as an EMT and firefighter, and volunteered at the Nineveh Fire Department.

St. John was honored with the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the NATO Medal and an Indiana Military Volunteer Emblem.

Indiana Patriot Guard Riders, charity group members and local authorities gathered Thursday at Indianapolis International Airport for the arrival of St. John’s casket. More than 150 motorcycle riders escorted the hearse to a Martinsville church. 

“To his wife and family, God bless them all for his honor and their sacrifice,” said John Petro, a Patriot Guard state captain who led the procession. “The Patriot Guard will never forget their hero.”

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 23 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Hoosier Harvest Church in Martinsville.

St. John will be laid to rest at New South Park Cemetery in Martinsville. The funeral service will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Indy Honor Flight program in memory of St. John. Donations can be made online.

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