Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

SLIDELL, La. -- The body of a Slidell Marine killed in action overseas arrived home Thursday morning.

A plane carrying Marine Sgt. Michael Guillory, who would have been 29 years old in January, arrived at Louis Armstrong airport in Kenner at 10 a.m.

Guillory's body was transported on an 'angel flight,' which occurs when military uses a private jet to bring the bodies of fallen heroes home.

At least 20 Marines in dress uniform were waiting at the airport. A Marine Honor Guard waited at the steps of the plane to transport his casket to hearse.

Family members and members of the New Orleans Police Department, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Kenner Police Department and Louisiana State Police were also present to escort the hearse.

Veterans were at the site to pay their respects.

'A fallen soldier, someone who gave their life for our freedom, it's very touching, very, very touching. These guys should have all the respect in the world. I served in Vietnam, three tours. I came home. Unfortunately, this man is not coming home, and that's really, really sad,' said David Vicknair of American Legion Kenner Post 377.

A police and Patriot Guard escorted the body to Slidell, and came across a large crowd gathered to honor Guillory on Ponchartrain Boulevard. Some knew the 28-year-old, who would have turned 29 next month.

'I'm here to show my support for him, for paying the ultimate sacrifice for my family,' said Jolene Ussery, who went to high school with Guillory.

Many more who didn't know Guillory said they came out to honor Guillory's sacrifice.

Former Marine Dan DeBlanc said, 'I think it's important to honor all of our service people and particularly a sad situation like this. We just want to honor Sgt. Guillory and the sacrifices his family is going through right now. It's a thing of a respect I think everyone should do.'

Guillory's mother said the turnout was a blessing.

'He inspired other people,' said Gina Guillory, 'I have gotten so many of his friends and people that I don't even know tell me how much he touched their lives and helped them in tough times.'

The inspirations Thursday were without age limits.

'Thanks for saving our world,' said 5-year-old Zander Howard, whose father is a Marine, 'It's our world and everything we do, we need you and we love you.'

'He was an amazing person. We lost a really good guy,' said Ussery.

But Guillory's mother wants everyone to remember there are many other good people still serving America. She said it's what her son would want too.

'As Michael would say, those are the heroes, not him,' she said.

At the time of his death, he was on a mission to rebuild an Afghan village in Helmand Province when the truck he was in overturned. Guillory joined the Marines after graduating high school and had served six tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His duties included reconnaissance and special operations.

Funeral services with full military honors will take place Friday and Saturday. A visitation at Slidell Municipal Auditorium will take place Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The funeral will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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