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Elkhart soldier’s body to arrive in South Bend on Friday

Funeral services are planned for next week.

Posted on Dec. 26, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 26, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.

ELKHART — The family of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams, who died on Dec. 17 in Afghanistan, has been notified that Williams’ body will be transported to South Bend on Friday, Dec. 27.

Williams’ mother, Debbie Bussard Passerallo, confirmed that family would receive his body at the South Bend Regional Airport at 9 a.m. Friday. From there, the body will be taken to Billings Funeral Home in Elkhart, which is handling the arrangements.

Williams, along with five other soldiers, died when a Black Hawk transport helicopter they were on crashed for an unknown reason.

Williams’ visitation is set for 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 2 at Granger Community Church, 630 E. University Drive, Mishawaka.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Jan. 3 at Granger Community Church, with visitation beginning at 11 a.m. Interment will immediately follow the funeral service at Rice Cemetery in Elkhart.

Since 2001, nine Elkhart County military servicemen have died overseas, including Williams. They are:

Ÿ Army Staff Sgt. Marvin Lee Trost III, 28, of Wakarusa. Trost died on Dec. 5, 2004, and was the first soldier from Elkhart County to die in combat in Iraq.

He died when the Humvee he was in drove over an explosive device in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

Ÿ Army Spc. Jeffrey W. Corban, 30, of Elkhart, was killed along with four other soldiers on Oct. 15, 2005, when a bomb detonated near their military vehicle near Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

Ÿ Marine Cpl. Aaron Seal, 23, of Elkhart, was killed in a sniper attack on Oct. 1, 2006, in Baghdad while serving with the South Bend-based Engineer Company B.

Ÿ Army Spc. David Wilkey Jr., 22, of Elkhart, died on June 18, 2007. He stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol near Baghdad, Iraq.

Ÿ Army Staff Sgt. James Snyder, 48, of Nappanee, died on May 10, 2008 while serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. He had sustained injuries from a bomb blast in January 2008 and was seemingly recovering when he suddenly died.

Ÿ Army Staff Sgt. Travis Hunsberger, 24, of Wakarusa, died June 27, 2008, after encountering an improvised explosive device while on combat patrol near Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. He had been injured twice before and was on his second tour in Afghanistan at the time of his death.

Ÿ Army Spc. Justin Shoecraft, 28, of Elkhart, was killed in Afghanistan by insurgents who attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Aug. 24, 2010. Shoecraft’s family said that a team member told them Shoecraft had moved his tank in front of his group to protect them from gunfire when he drove over the bomb in Karakak, Afghanistan.

Ÿ Army Sgt. Marvin Calhoun Jr., 23, of Elkhart, died Sept. 21, 2010, in the deadliest coalition helicopter crash in Afghanistan in four years. Nine Americans died in the crash, including five from Calhoun’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and four members of the Navy.




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