STATESBORO, GA (WSAV) – A Georgia airman killed by a suicide bomber late December in Afghanistan was laid to rest Saturday. Tears in the eyes of many family members, fellow military service men and women as well as members of the Statesboro community said their last goodbye to the town’s newest military hero.
A 21 gun salute was given at the little cemetery behind the Mount Zion AME Church off of South Old River road in Bulloch county in honor of 30-year-old special agent staff sergeant Chester McBride.
“Today, we recognize him as a hero but he’s always been a hero. He’s been my hero since we were little, I’ve always looked up to Chester, wanted to be like Chester, he was the strongest, most athletic, he was just someone to look up to he always made me a stronger person,” Charles Kalevala McBride’s childhood friend.
McBride was killed in late December just outside of Bagram Air base in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by a suicide bomber. McBride’s job on the base was to keep other soldiers safe and air force officials say while protecting a linguist during the attack, McBride was killed.
“That’s the type of person he was, selfless, always putting others before himself,” says cousin Travis McBride.
During his funeral service McBride was awarded posthumously the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and two Air Force honorary medals. More than that his memory in his legacy remembered by hundreds who came to pay their respects.
“He became my protector, my hero and this much I knew. He laid down his life so you and I could live free, he gave up his comforts for you and for me,” says McBride’s first grade teacher Christie Page as she reads from a poem.
McBride was set to begin work with the FBI completing what family friends believe was one of his last tours in Afghanistan. The final tour to a selfless service, many say, since McBride volunteered to serve his country.
“He was an unbelievable friend, so it hits close to home,” says Clifton Austin, McBride’s college teammate and friend.