MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN)- The body of an American soldier who died in the Fort Hood flooding returned to North Carolina Friday in a quiet ceremony at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Laurin Gates, 20, was one of nine soldiers killed in flood waters. She grew up in Harnett County and graduated from Triton High School.
A water cannon salute followed and the Army honor guard greeted her.
It was clear Friday that her family was still grieving from the loss, but they were also grateful for the support on her return. Her funeral will be Sunday.
“No matter what branch of the service we’re all the same. We’re all brothers and sisters. And when one of us it takes a little piece of everybody’s heart,” said veteran and member of the Patriot Guard Gary McCoy.
On Saturday, the family told CBS North Carolina how proud they were of their daughter, who was the homecoming queen her senior year at Triton.
“I actually had an angel living with us,” said Marlene Strongs, Laurin’s mom.
Her JROTC instructor, Maj. Steven Jones, said the last words she wrote to him in 2013 were, “You are my hero. You are an amazing person.”
An Army honor guard and her family waited for her casket on the tarmac at RDU. The family thanked the guard and then prepared to go to Fayetteville.