The brave men who perished in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week have come home, and their respective hometowns spared no time in honoring them before laying them to rest.
A feature on the Navy website shared details regarding the funeral of Senior Chief Cryptologist David Blake McLendon. He was one of nine U.S. service members who died in the crash; he was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia.
McLendon, who goes by his second name, Blake, was honored in a ceremony at the Thomas County Central High School auditorium in Thomasville, Georgia. Thousands of people gathered in the auditorium to attend the ceremony and honor McLendon. His friends, family, and fellow service members shared stories in his memory, and remembered his courage and his heroism. His commanding officer, Cmdr. Alexander Mackenzie, shared: “Blake was well aware of the dangers he would face on the battlefield, but he was willing to put himself in harm’s way because he knew the mission was important.”
He also addressed McLendon’s family and the Thomasville community, saying that they helped “build the honorable man Blake came to be.”
U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. of Georgia said: “Senior Chief David McLendon will be remembered for his deep commitment to humanity… For that, we owe him our greatest gratitude and respect.”
A funeral procession followed after the memorial service, and the five-mile route from the high school to the Sunset Memorial Gardens cemetery was lined with thousands of people. McLendon was laid to rest on October 1.