HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - Family, friends and others gathered Monday to say their final farewells to a Louisiana Army National Guardsman who died in a helicopter crash in Florida.
The body of Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr., 37, of Delhi, returned to Louisiana on Saturday.
His funeral started in Hammond at 11 a.m. He will be buried in Lafayette with full military honors.
Four members of the Louisiana National Guard based in Hammond were killed when the helicopter crashed off Florida's Panhandle during nighttime training. The four Louisiana National Guardsmen were from the 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment. They died in a training accident on March 10, along with seven Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr, 37; Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44; Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40; and Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26; died when a UH-60M Black Hawk they were riding on crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound, Florida.
Arrangements for the other three Guardsmen were released on Monday. Two of the Soldiers are set to return to Louisiana while Staff Sgt. Thomas C. Florich III will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother will arrive to the National Guard facility in Pineville, Louisiana on March 24 at 11 a.m. Visitation for Strother will be held on March 25 from noon to 9 p.m. and March 26 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Alexandria Riverfront Convention Center. The funeral service will follow the visitation on March 26 before CW4 Strothers is buried at the Alexandria Memorial Gardens at sunset.
Staff Sergeant Lance J. Bergeron will return to Louisiana at the National Guard facility in Hammond at 10 a.m. March 25. No visitation or funeral services have been announced yet, but a Celebration of Life ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. March 30 at the Woodland Park Baptist Church in Hammond.
The seven Marines who died in the crash were identified as: Capt. Stanford Henry Shaw III of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders of Camp Lejeune; Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn of Queens, New York; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock of Lake Orion, Michigan; Staff Sgt. Kerry Michael Kemp of Port Washington, Wisconsin; Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif of Holland, Michigan; and Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol from Warren, Michigan.
All were from the 2nd Special Operations Battalion of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
The Louisiana Army National Guard set up a fund for the four soldiers killed in last week's helicopter crash. To donate to the fund, click here.