Moments after the flag-draped coffin containing the body of Staff Sgt Ricardo Seija, 31, came off the plane, family members -- one running -- many sobbing, came to touch the casket before it was loaded on a black hearse.
Seija was one of two local soldiers killed July 8 when their armored vehicle hit an IED in Afghanistan. Six soldiers died in that attack.
At 10:20 a.m. the hearse, following an escort of more than two dozen Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Florida Highway Patrol motorcycle riders, began the honor escort off MacDill Air Force Base.
A ceremony begin at 11 a.m. and was followed by an honor escort to Gonzalez Funeral Home, 7209 N. Dale Mabry Highway along this route:
Exit MacDill AFB Bayshore Gate, north on Bayshore Boulevard to east on Platt Street, to north on Florida Avenue to east on Jackson Street to north on Jefferson Street to the 1-275 connector. From there the escort will exit on Sligh Avenue to Manhattan Avenue (past Leto High School), to east on Broad Street to north on Dale Mabry Highway to Gonzalez Funeral Home, 7209 N. Dale Mabry.