FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a somber and emotional ceremony Saturday morning as family and friends welcomed home Lt. Colonel Seth Nehring.
The Central Valley native and Fresno airman was killed one month ago after his fighter jet crashed overseas during a joint military exercise.
On the tarmac at the Air National Guard base in Fresno, Lt. Colonel Nehring was brought home.
Members of his 144th fighter squadron giving their final salute to the man known to many as "Jethro."
As they carried his flag-draped casket to the hearse waiting nearby, Nehring's family stood feet away, taking in the emotional homecoming before his memorial service inside the hanger.
The beloved airman was killed back in October when his fighter jet crashed during a training exercise in Ukraine.
But his journey began here in the Central Valley where he attended Clovis High and played water polo.
After graduating, he enlisted as a crew chief before being selected as a pilot.
"He cared about humanity, he cared about people the way he cared about this nation, and he went about that full loaded," said close family friend Lt. Al Evdokimo.
Commander Daniel Kelly echoing those sentiments, saying Nehring who flew both the F-16 Viper and the F-15 Eagle could connect with everyone.
"It is that relationship he was able to build that really made him a huge part of our family," 144th Fighter Wing Cmdr. Daniel Kelly.
A family is now having to say goodbye to a decorated fighter pilot who gave nearly 25 years of his life to protecting U.S. skies.
Emotional homecoming for Valley airman killed in Ukraine
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