Fallen Minn. Marine 'died doing what he loved to do' - KMSP-TV

Fallen Minn. Marine 'died doing what he loved to do'

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WASECA, Minn. (KMSP) -

Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson was killed during a combat mission in Afghanistan and his body has now returned home to Waseca. A procession was held Saturday -- a day filled with emotion -- because for the Waseca community, it's still hard to accept he's gone.

The-20-year old was scheduled to come back home from Afghanistan in only two months, but friends say he always wanted to serve his country and died doing what he loved to do.  

The casket carrying the body of Lance Cpl. Erickson arrived at Owatonna Airport Sunday afternoon with his mother, father,and other family members being consoled by fellow marines. 

"We're praying for them, we are and they have all our respect their son is a true hero," one supporter said.

Lance Cpl. Erickson died in Afghanistan last week after a suicide bomb attack. He joined the Marines after graduating from Waseca High School in 2012, where friends like Amanda Southwick say he excelled in wrestling and football.

"I was obviously sad, but comforted to know that he died doing what he loved to do," Southwick said.

Escorted by a military honor guard, the Ericksons led a procession along Old Highway 14, and on their way back home to Waseca, hundreds -- if not thousands -- of supporters lined the route.

"In this day and age it's hard to find young men, kids who want to serve their country and this young man did,"another attendee said.

Block after block, everyone waited patiently in the cold to pay their respects. Many didn't even know him.

A funeral for Lance Cpl. Erickson will be on Monday at Grace Lutheran Church in Waseca and Gov. Dayton ordered all state flags to be flown at half-staff in his honor.

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