KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WYMT) The family of Staff Sergeant Abby Milam received her remains Wednesday morning at McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville.
SSG Milam will receive a Patriot Guard Honor Mission, as a procession brings her back to Letcher County, where she grew up.
She entered active-duty military service in August 2011 as a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter Repairer. She was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and 25th Infantry Division.
Her awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with two loops, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with award numeral 2, Army Service Ribbon, and the Aviation Badge.
SSG Milam died while on a training mission in Hawaii when her crew's helicopter crashed. Four other crew members were killed.
Those who escorted Milam back from Knoxville to her hometown in Letcher County said it was one of the greatest honors.
"The rest of her life is gone it's for the country and we should really honor people especially ones that pay that big of a price," said Ken Roberts, the Knoxville Patriot Guard Ride Captain.
Dozens with the Patriot Guard escorted Milam home and hundreds lined the route from Knoxville to Letcher County to show their support. One woman in London who waved a flagged said she shared a close connection with Milam, and hopes her family knew she was loved.
"Let her family, her immediate family know that she was loved and she had people all over that wanted to show respect. My heart goes out to her family, and the rest of her friends that knew her and everyone," said Nickie Stidham, a friend of Abby Milam.
The funeral will be held at Hemphill Freewill Baptist Church on Saturday, October 14 at 1 p.m.