OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — The body of a Fort Campbell soldier slain in Afghanistan returned to his hometown of Owensboro Thursday to a crowd of hundreds waving flags and waiting to give him a hero's send off.
Sgt. Michael Christopher Cable died March 27 in eastern Afghanistan after a teenager stabbed him from behind. The 26-year-old native of Philpot was due to return home from combat in June.
The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reported (http://bit.ly/ZceRDL ) that 137 bikers from at least five organizations followed police and military personnel from the airport to the funeral home.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Burial will follow in Rosehill Cemetery.
Cable was assigned to First Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.
City and county officials joined military personnel and family members waiting on the tarmac beside the hangars at MidAmerica Jet on Thursday. A six-man honor guard from Fort Campbell marched to the plane, lifted the flag-draped casket and carried it slowly to the hearse. And, on Friday, Gov. Steve Beshear ordered flags at all state offices lowered to half-staff on Saturday in honor of Cable.
The family had asked people to wear green and hundreds of them did. Green was Cable's favorite color — the color of his beloved Green Bay Packers football team and the Army, where he was a career soldier.
Among those at the airport was Mollie Stephen, wearing a bright yellow Cheesehead hat, a signature of the Packers Nation.
"We've been loyal Packers fans for a lifetime," she said. "I wanted to wear it today for him."
A large American flag was suspended over the street in front of Owensboro Municipal Utilities.
"It was awesome. We expected a lot of people, but it was overpowering. It was so much easier to deal with the pain with all this support," said Cable's older brother, Raymond Johnston. "You felt like you were in a parade, not a funeral. It was fabulous. We talked about it all day long. We'd cry a little and then somebody would mention something about the parade."
Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com