The funeral for the Frederick soldier killed last week in Afghanistan will be held Thursday at Fort Detrick, followed by a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
U.S. Army Sgt. David V. Williams, 24, died in Kandahar Province Aug. 19, during his first deployment, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The cause of his death remains under investigation.
His body, which was brought Monday from the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to the Stauffer Funeral Home in Frederick, was greeted by hundreds of residents holding flags and signs along the way.
Debbie Williams, who organized the event for the Patty Pollatos Fund, a nonprofit volunteer organization that serves Frederick County, said volunteers from the organization will stand with Williams’ body around the clock until his funeral service Thursday morning.
“We handed out over 500 flags, and that’s not counting the people who brought their own flags,” Williams said.
Williams’ father, retired U.S. Army Col. David W. Williams, released a statement Monday through Fort Detrick Public Information Office in response to the show of support.
“We are very touched by the love and support Fort Detrick and the Frederick community has shown in grieving the loss of Sgt. David V. Williams,” it read in part. “... We are truly thankful for all of your love and support. Please continue to keep David in your prayers.”
Sgt. Williams was a 2006 graduate of Urbana High School and entered the U.S. Army in August 2008. He was first stationed at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea, according to a DOD news release.
Debbie Williams said volunteers holding flags would line the streets between the funeral home and Fort Detrick. She said anyone wishing to be part of the procession line is welcome, and she would hand out flags for those who don’t have any.
“We want a corridor of flags to send him to his final resting place,” she said. “We want to do this for Sgt. Williams.”
Debbie Williams said several local organizations, including the Weis grocery store and several others, have been very helpful, providing food and drinks for those standing watch outside the funeral home.
Stan Mallow, the manager of the Weis grocery store at 199 Thomas Johnson Drive, said it was the first time the store had gotten involved with supporting a soldier’s return.
“Something just touched us with the community involvement and everything,” he said. “A lot of people take our liberties for granted, and we like to show respect — to the dead especially.”
Mallow said he didn’t know Williams, but saw the outpouring of support as people lined the street Monday. He said the store brought out water and food for the volunteers, and planned to do the same during the funeral.
Some of the store’s employees also volunteered to participate in lining the streets when Williams’ body was moved from the funeral home to the fort, he said.
“I’m up to like 10 employees that are going to help line the streets,” Mallow said. “They all take pride in it. We’ve got a lot of people with family members who served.”
Sgt. Williams received the Army Achievement Medal twice, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Ribbon and the NATO Medal, the release said. He received training in the Combat Life Savers Course in 2010 and as a human resource specialist in 2008.
Williams’ funeral will be held at Fort Detrick, where the service is private.
The family has asked for anyone wishing to express condolences to visit www.yellowribbonsunited.org, a nonprofit organization started by Williams’ sister, Emma Dockery, and her husband, Derrick.