New Jersey soldier killed in training exercise receives flag escort home

MARLTON N.J. (WPVI) -- A 20-year-old New Jersey paratrooper killed in a training exercise in Alaska received a hero's welcome home Wednesday.

A solemn silence fell over busy Philadelphia International Airport as the hearse carrying the body of Army Spc. Nicholas DiMona III made its way onto the interstate.

DiMona was fatally shot near Fort Greely in Alaska back on March 30.

More than 50 members of the Warriors' Watch Riders accompanied DiMona along the 20-mile route from the airport to the Bradley Funeral Home.

"They called out of work, took vacation days. That's how important it is to pay respects to this hero," said Tony Meade, Warriors' Watch Riders N.J. State Coordinator.

People could also be seen saluting at overpasses.

Action News spoke with a DiMona family relative outside the funeral home

"He was just a great kid, I don't know how else to put it," said Rob DiMona. "He's not with us alive, but being here I think is a big, big event."

The isn't the first time the family's dealt with tragedy

15 years ago Nicholas' father, Nicholas DiMona II, died in a helicopter crash as part of a military exercise in Georgia.

"I think we're more still dealing with the whole situation," Rob DiMona said.

Nicholas DiMona III is among several local U.S. service members that have lost their lives in recent weeks.

34-year-old U.S. Marine pilot Matthew Wiegand of Ambler, Pennsylvania was also killed in late March in a helicopter training mission in southwest Arizona.

On Monday, U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, who was also a decorated New York City firefighter and Delaware father of three, was killed by a Taliban roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Funeral services for DiMona will be held at St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church

A wake will be held Monday from 6:00-9:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m
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