WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — The commander of the Rhode Island National Guard says a soldier who was killed by an armored vehicle while trying to save a girl in Afghanistan is a “true hero and patriot.”

Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride paid the tribute to Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr. after his body was flown to the T.F. Green Airport in Warwick under snow and rain conditions Saturday morning.

The 29-year-old Providence resident was received by a military funeral honor detachment in a ceremony overseen by Gov. Lincoln Chafee and McBride, the adjutant general of the Rhode Island National Guard.

Weichel’s mother, father, fiance and three children were also present, along with other members of his family and the mother of his two oldest children.

A wake is scheduled for Sunday ahead of a memorial service set for Monday. Burial will follow in Exeter.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

  1. Lieut Dan's Aunt says:

    new england has tragically lost another of it’s best & brightest. the depth of your family’s loss is felt here in ny. a nephew served 2 iraq tours and we were never fully relaxed until he came home. we are all the poorer for your loss, and challenged to perform a selfless act of kindness. rest in peace fine young man.

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