NEWS

Waterville soldier's body returns home

Angelica A. Morrison

The body of Army Spc. John Sigsbee returned home Sunday and the fallen soldier was honored in a ceremony at the Griffiss airfield. 

The 21-year-old Waterville native was killed in Iraq on Wednesday along with two other soldiers. 

Sigsbee's body was flown from Dover Air Force Base in a Dassault Falcon 20, which landed shortly before 10 a.m. An official ceremony was held inside a closed airplane hangar.

The Patriot Guard Riders participated in the event. Members of the motorcyclist group, mostly veterans, attend the funerals of members of the U.S. Armed Forces at the invitation of the deceased's family. 

“It was sad. I don't know how else to explain it,” said member Dave Kern of Rochester. “I'm very honored to be here. He paid the ultimate price.” 

John Pumilia, who described himself as a friend of one of Sigsbee's brothers, stood without a coat on the tarmac in the frosty winds and snow. He was watching the plane that carried the body land. 

He came to the event to show his support for the family. He said he was upset when he heard about Sigsbee's death. 

“I was on my way to work, when I heard it on the radio,” Pumilia said. “It was a shock, being so close to home.” 

After the ceremony, a funeral procession took Sigsbee's body to the Kloster-Northrop & Bentz Funeral Home on East Main Street in Waterville. 

The procession of more than 10 vehicles traveled south on Route 233, through Deansboro and then to Route 12B, ending in Waterville. 

The calling hours for Sigsbee are from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Waterville High School auditorium. Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the school.

Observer-Dispatch