WASHINGTON – Returning from a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Monday night, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stopped in Delaware for an emotional ceremony to honor the return of two soldiers slain in Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio R. Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Sgt. 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, were killed last weekend when a soldier dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun.
Six other Americans were wounded in the attack.
“These were fallen heroes and we were close by and the president wrapped his rally early so he could come,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said.
During the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base, Trump saluted and Pence held his hand over his heart as transfer cases containing the remains were carried off a military plane.
As a light rain fell, a family member ran toward the C-17 plane that had carried the bodies. Another family member and a soldier held her back at the bottom of a ramp near the cargo hold.
Trump and previous presidents have attended such ceremonies before at Dover. The White House said this was the first time since 2009 that the president and vice president had attended a dignified transfer together.