Flags waved and tears fell from people who lined the streets to observe the funeral procession for an MCAS Miramar-based Marine from Miramar to the Clairemont Mortuary Tuesday morning.
“I’m here to bring this Marine home and to show that people care.” said one of the more than one hundred people who came out to support the Marine’s family, including his wife Kasey and son Dane, says Jasmine Holcombe, whose brother serves in the Corps. “You know your dad died as a hero.”
Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, 33, was one of four men killed on April 3 along with three other Marines: Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad, 1st Lt. Samuel D. Phillips and Capt. Samuel A. Schultz.
Holley and his crewmates were aboard the CH-53E Super Stallion when it went down for unknown reasons. The Marines were training to land in unimproved terrain, according to U.S. Marine Corps officials.
Holley received military honors in a ceremony at Miramar National Ceremony before departing for the private service in Clairemont.
The procession between the two locations departed around 10 a.m. and included a flyover, according to the group Honoring Our Fallen.
The group asks those who wish to pay their respects to the fallen hero to line the procession route between the two locations with American flags before 10 a.m.
The procession will travel westbound on Nobel Drive then southbound on Genesee Avenue before turning left on Balboa Avenue then left on Mount Abernathy Avenue.
A military flyover will join the procession, Honoring Our Fallen said.
Holley joined the Marine Corps in 2003. He deployed to Iraq twice and once to Japan. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal among others.
Holley was originally from Dayton, Ohio, but met wife in San Diego and started a family here. His body arrived at Lindbergh Field Saturday.
The Patriot Riders were there to greet his arrival from Dover Air Force Base, and they also escorted him during Tuesday's procession.
The Patriot Riders had gifts for Holley’s young son. “We dressed him like a Marine, put him in his cameos," Patriot Rider Ken Brassell said. "He has a dog tag with a picture of his dad on the back and the information on the front.” They also gave him a pillow with a picture of his dad on it and a teddy bear.
On April 3, a CH-53E Super Stallion from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Miramar crashed just outside of El Centro near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 3, USMC officials said.
The helicopter had left Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms to conduct routine training of aircraft landings in unimproved zones.