The family of Lance Cpl. James Bray Stack, a Marine from Arlington Heights, was deeply moved with the ceremony surrounding the return of his body from Afghanistan, his father, Robert Stack, said Saturday.
James' wife, Katelyn Landeweer Stack, his parents and a few other relatives flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the return Friday of the remains of the 20-year-old Marine.
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The rear door on a huge transport plane opened, and the family saw an illuminated casket draped in the American flag, said Robert Stack. There also was an honor guard from Marine headquarters.
"As a Christian, the body is not an issue to me," said Robert Stack, who is acting as spokesman for the family. "But the respect paid for the fallen warriors -- it was just great we got to see it. It meant so much to me. The Marine Corps is a band of brothers. I have no doubt that any of the Marines in my son's unit would have stood in the path of the bullet that killed him if they could have."
Stack was shot and killed Wednesday. He was a rifleman in India Company 3/5 Marines in the 1st division serving in Sangin in Helmand province, considered one of the most violent places in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.
James Stack's body will return to Arlington Heights next week. His father expects the service to be next weekend, but plans had not been finalized Saturday.
James and Katelyn Stack have a 1-year-old daughter, Mikayla.