LANCASTER, Ohio — A soldier killed last month during a combat mission in Afghanistan has been honored at a funeral outside Columbus.
Sgt. Joseph Collette was remembered Friday at Faith Memorial Church in Lancaster as a loving father, husband and son and as a well-regarded member of 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group at Fort Carson, Colorado, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“A uniform does not make a hero. The person wearing the uniform makes a hero,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said at the funeral service. “Sgt. Collette was a hero.”
He was promoted and awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star after his death March 22.
Collette married his wife, Caela, shortly before being deployed to Afghanistan. He hid 30 love letters around the house for his new wife and planned a more formal wedding in Florida after his deployment.
He is survived by two children from a previous relationship and two stepdaughters.
His remains arrived Wednesday morning at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus. A motorcade then carried him to his hometown of Lancaster. Onlookers lined the streets to honor Collette as the motorcade passed through the city about 30 miles southeast of Columbus.
Collette and Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, 33, were killed March 22 during combat operations in Kunduz province, Afghanistan. They died of injuries from enemy fire during a combat mission, the Defense Department said.
Lindsay was with 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.
His remains arrived at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Wednesday afternoon. Police escorted the motorcade through the city and firefighters saluted as it drove past.
Gov. Jared Polis ordered that United States and Colorado flags on state buildings be lowered to half-staff to honor Lindsay through Tuesday, when a memorial service will be held at Fort Carson.
Lindsay is survived by his wife and four daughters.