MADISON, Ala. - A hero arrived home Friday. Nine Puerto Rico National Guardsmen were killed when a cargo plane crashed on the highway in Savannah, Georgia. The group, nicknamed the "Bucaneros", were tasked with flying the C-130 to Arizona where it was about to be retired.
The co-pilot, 1st Lt. David Albandoz lived in Madison with his family. His body arrived at the Huntsville International Airport a little before 5:00 p.m.
The Madison Police Department, the Patriot Guard Riders of Alabama and several other military organizations took part in the procession that escorted him from Huntsville International Airport to Legacy Funeral Home.
"As an Army spouse myself, I can't even imagine going through this scenario," Diana Flautt said. Flautt is friends with the Albandoz family.
It was a community effort to honor David's life and the family he left behind.
"From the very minute I met them, we just had a special friendship and a close bond, a very special family," said a friend of the family, Lacey Schamburg.
Friends and family are mourning the loss of 1st Lt. David Albandoz, a family man with a wife and daughter in Madison.
It's the kind of loss that rocks an entire community.
"It's pretty horrible especially neighbors and friends people in the immediate community where they live. It's just terrible for them. It just takes them a while to get over it," Patriot Guard Rider John Cooper said.
"No matter who or where it happens, for that person to wear the uniform, it's a touching moment for us all," retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Rivers said.
Though he recently graduated from aviation school, Albandoz didn't start his career as a pilot. In fact, his journey in the military has served as an inspiration to many.
He was the first enlisted aircrew member in the Puerto Rico National Guard to become a pilot.
He was excited to further his career in aviation.
Albandoz served his country for 16 years. People are lifting up his memory, honoring this brave airman who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving his country.