The bodies of four Indiana National Guardsmen killed in Afghanistan – including one from Starke County – are now back on U.S. soil this morning.
The flag draped caskets of all four arrived at the Air Force base in Dover, Delaware last night. They served with the 713 Engineer Company based in Valpariaso.
44-year-old Army Specialist Robert J. Tauteris Jr. of Hamlet was escorted back to the states by his son, Robert Tauteris III.
Also killed, 32-year-old Staff Sergeant Jonathan Metzger of Indianapolis; 21-year-old Specialist Brian Leonhardt of Merrillville; and 20-year-old Specialist Christopher Patterson of Aurora, Illinois.
Patterson was a student and didn't have to go to Afghanistan with his unit, but he chose to.
Flags in Hamlet are flying at half staff to honor Specialist Tauteris.
The Hamlet town council president said in a statement, "This tragedy weighs heavy on all our hearts, but also serves as a reminder to continue to honor those who have and are currently serving our great nation."