May 24, 2018
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Remains of Glenburn soldier who died in Kuwait returned to Maine

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The remains of Maine National Guard Staff Sgt. Jessica M. Wing were returned to Maine Friday morning, 11 days after the Glenburn resident was killed in Kuwait City in a noncombat-related incident.

A charter plane flew Wing’s casket from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to Bangor International Airport. The plane landed at BIA around 10:40 a.m.

Flanked by police vehicles, a truck from the Maine Forest Service, several SUVs and about 20 Maine Patriot Guard Riders, the hearse left the airport at 11:10 a.m. and headed down Maine Avenue toward Interstate 95.

Outside Bangor Savings Bank on Maine Avenue, about 20 employees watched from the parking lot as the motorcade rolled past. Some waited at the side of the road for more than an hour.

Mandie Smith of Hermon said taking time out of their workday to honor the fallen soldier was the employees’ way of “giving back a little for the people who do everything for us.”

She said news of a soldier’s death hits home for many people she works with because some of her colleagues have loved ones in military service.

“It’s emotional, it’s heartbreaking,” said Leslie Scott of Garland.

Bangor Savings Bank sends emails to its employees whenever a motorcade is scheduled to take a deceased soldier from the airport. Workers turn out whenever they can to pay their respects, according to employee Manley Dolley of Charleston.

The motorcade took Wing’s body to Augusta in preparation for funeral and committal services on Saturday.

Visiting hours are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Ave. The funeral will begin at 2 p.m. A military committal service at Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mount Vernon Road, will follow the funeral service.

Gov. Paul LePage ordered Friday that all American and state of Maine flags within the city limits of Augusta be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in Wing’s honor.

Maine’s first lady, Ann LePage, is planning to attend the funeral, but the governor will not be able to attend because he is heading to China, spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Thursday.

“It is tragic we have lost this great soldier and Mainer,” LePage said Friday. “My thoughts and prayers go with the friends and family of Staff Sgt. Wing during this difficult time.”

Wing, 42, a UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief for the Bangor-based 126th Aviation Medevac unit, was a helicopter mechanic with 23 years in uniform. She had made six overseas deployments, three while on active duty and three after moving back to Maine and joining the 126th Medevac unit — known as the “Black Bears” — eight years ago. She died Aug. 27.

The cause of Wing’s death has not been released and “the tragic incident is currently under investigation by the Department of Defense,” Maine Army National Guard spokesman Capt. Shanon Cotta said Wednesday. “This is a lengthy and highly detailed investigative process to accurately determine the circumstances of the incident.”

BDN writer Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this report.

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