PHILOMATH, Ore. -- The remains of a Philomath soldier killed in Afghanistan arrived back in Oregon Thursday.
Private First Class Cody Patterson was killed by a suicide bomber earlier this month. He was protecting a female officer as she tried to talk with Afghan women when an IED exploded. It killed Patterson, the officer and two others.
A procession made its way through his hometown of Philomath Thursday afternoon and hundreds of people turned out to show their respects. It was an afternoon filled with pride and heartache.
Patterson, 25, was the pride of the small Philomath community just west of Corvallis. Friends said he had an engaging personality, was a captain of the high school football team and later became an Army Ranger. Yellow ribbons and American flags lined the route of his procession Thursday.
Many said they felt touched by Patterson’s death, but outside of his family, few felt it as deeply as Kim Adams. She said he was her best friend. His picture is on her phone and she talked with him just a week before he was killed.
“It makes it more real. You know you hear about it in the news and you read it in the paper and you hear from his family that like, you know he’s not coming back,” she said Thursday. “But you know seeing him [his coffin] drive by, it really sinks it in and makes it real. Its just really hard.”
Army Rangers from Patterson’s unit flew to Oregon to help bring his body home and were part of the procession.
Slideshow: Philomath honors Cody Patterson
Patterson's memorial service will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus and it will be open to the public.
The governor has also ordered flags flown at half staff Sunday in Patterson's honor.
KGW reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report.