Raleigh, N.C. — The remains of three North Carolina soldiers killed in Afghanistan will be returned home Tuesday during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison of Maysville, Sgt. Donna R. Johnson of Raeford and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler of Wilmington, who all served in the Army National Guard, were killed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a military news release.
Johnson's uncle told WRAL News that a suicide bomber was to blame for deaths of Hardison, Johnson and Butler, along with about a dozen others.
The remains were expected to arrive in Dover about 7 p.m. for the dignified transfer, a solemn service in which transfer cases containing the remains are deplaned and taken to the base mortuary. The facility at Dover Air Force Base is the largest military mortuary in the United States.
In 2009, the Obama administration announced a change in policy to allow media to cover dignified transfers if family members consent. The relatives of Hardison, Johnson and Butler have given their consent, according to the release.