CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An Eastern Iowa Marine died in Afghanistan on June 20th. He was killed in an IED attack carried out by the Taliban.
Corporal Adam Wolff finally made the long journey home this morning.
“We’ll move down to the terminal, and we’ll be present for the dignified transfer,” said Scott Rathjens, Ride Captain for the Iowa Patriot Guard. “Once that’s complete, we’ll mount our motorcycles and conduct the escort from the airport to Ottumwa down the interstate.”
Rathjens is a leader in the Patriot Guard of Iowa.
The group gathers to remember and memorialize fallen soldiers and veterans.
“Today’s a little different because today is a killed in action,” Rathjens said. “But anyone that served in the military we will come, if invited by the family, to honor them at their funeral.”
About 100 bikers rode into the Armory Guard parking lot in Cedar Rapids early this morning.
From there, they rallied at The Eastern Iowa Airport to meet Wolff’s body as it arrived from the Dover Air Force Base.
Even though no one in the band of bikers knew Wolff, the day was significant.
“Many of us have grown to be like a family here ourselves,” said Ray Needham, a rider for the Patriot Guard. “We care deeply for this young man. He’s a member of what really matters to us; our country.”
Wolff is one of 24 active duty Iowans that have been killed in the War on Terror.
His sacrifice is one that the Patriot Guard will honor all weekend.
“They gave all their tomorrows for our today, I mean he paid the ultimate price,” Rathjens said. “There’s nothing more honorable than that. And at the very least we can come and help escort him home and support the family in their time of loss.”
The Patriot Guard escorted Adam Wolff’s body all the way to Ottumwa.
The streets there were lined with more than a hundred people holding American flags to honor him.
Ottumwa residents say Wolff’s death happening so close to Independence day makes you remember that freedom isn’t free.
Wolff’s sister and twin brother say the feeling of losing their sibling is something that can’t be put into words.
They think Saturday’s community support is exactly what Wolff deserved.
“It’s been really rough, bot as rough as today and tomorrow and the next day after that, but we have each other,” said Angela Malone, Wolff’s sister.
“He is gone and he isn’t gone. With everyone’s support and it’s been there and everything, it doesn’t feel like he’s gone,” said Aaron Wolff, Adam’s twin brother.
Funeral services will be held in Wolff’s hometown of Ottumwa Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Patriot Guard will be there, holding flags in his memory.
Wolff is survived by his parents, 5 siblings and two grandparents.