Hundreds turned out Wednesday to salute the return to Idaho Falls of 23-year-old Vincent G. Kamka, an Army specialist who died Oct. 4 in Iraq.
Kamka's flag-draped casket was taken off a twin-engine jet at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport at 11:25 a.m. His father and mother, Chuck and Brenda Kamka, and more than a dozen family members and friends were on hand to follow the casket in the hearse, which left in a motorcade down a flag-lined road on its way to Wood Funeral Home.
"It was so beautiful, " said Kamka's sister, Yvette Wise, of Idaho Falls.
The Kamka family participated in the March for Liberty ceremony in 2004, in which 1,776 flags were placed in a field on the west side of Idaho Falls. Seeing so many flags set up in her brother's honor was a tribute the family will never forget, Wise said. "It meant so much to us, " she said.
Kamka was not the kind of person who called attention to himself, she said.
"If he didn't have to, he wouldn't even wear his military outfit on the plane, because he didn't want any kind of special treatment, " she said.
But he believed with all his heart in what the United States is doing in Iraq.
"He loved those people, " Wise said. "He didn't want to leave those people."
Wise said the last time she saw her brother was in Utah five months ago. He was due to return from his tour in December.
In December 2006, he made arrangements for the distribution of presents to children in Iraq for the holiday season. The presents were wrapped and loaded, but the truck they were on was destroyed before they could be distributed.
Wise said the collections being taken in Kamka's name at Bank of America will be used for a similar effort this winter.
"His nieces and nephews want to do that in his name, " she said.