Homecoming for local soldier killed during training exercise at Fort Bragg

Updated: 06/09/2014 11:09 PM
Created: 06/09/2014 9:33 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

A western New York soldier was welcomed home one last time. On Monday, hundreds came out to pay their respects.

Sergeant Shaina Schmigel wanted to serve in the Army even when she was still in high school. Sergeant Shaina Schmigel died in a training exercise at Fort Bragg last week. She was just 21-years-old. On Monday, her body was flown to Buffalo and led in a procession to her home in Medina. 

A somber crowd greeted a Delta flight Monday afternoon at the Buffalo Airport. Dozens of Patriot Riders continued the trip home for Sergeant Shaina Schmigel. Dozens of motorcycles roared their way through small towns to the place where the Army paratrooper grew up.

Bill Brainard, Patriot Rider, said, “It's not about whether you're pro-war or against the war. You stand behind that young man or woman in uniform, support them through the good and the bad. That's what we're doing. We're going to make sure she gets the dignified welcome home that she deserves.”

The Gates Keystone Club Police Pipe and Drums were invited to take part.

Jim VanBrederode, Gates Police Chief, said, “I feel very patriotic and honored to be called up here to do this.”

Sergeant Schmigel would have been 22-years-old at the end of the month. She died during a nighttime training mission a little more than a week ago in North Carolina. Her aunt held on to her picture as the procession made its way through downtown Medina where family, friends and many who didn’t know Sgt. Schmigel stood in salute.

Judy Gilbert, Schmigel's aunt, said, "She's a hero. I can't say anything others than that. She was taken away way too soon."

Schmigel graduated from Medina High School in 2010. Her aunt says she was born in Batavia where the funeral will be held. Calling hours for Sgt. Schmigel will be held in Tuesday and her funeral is on Wednesday. 

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