Fallen soldier's body arrives in Upstate - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Fallen soldier's body arrives in Upstate

Supporters and business owners, including Davis Grading, honored Austin on Monday upon his body's arrival. (Apr. 29, 2013/FOX Carolina) Supporters and business owners, including Davis Grading, honored Austin on Monday upon his body's arrival. (Apr. 29, 2013/FOX Carolina)
Barrett Austin (Source: Family/Bows for Barrett Facebook page) Barrett Austin (Source: Family/Bows for Barrett Facebook page)
EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The parents of Pvt. 1st Class Barrett Austin found out Sunday afternoon that his body will arrive in the Upstate Monday morning.

Austin was injured in Afghanistan after his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device on April 17. He died from those injuries with family by his side in Germany on April 21.

His parents, Curt and Yolanda Austin, waited all week to find out when his body would arrive back in Pickens County, so funeral arrangements could be made.

Curt Austin said while it may bring closure to some, the funeral is just a formality. He believes that the casket just carries Barrett Austin's body but that his soul is already in heaven.

As raindrops dripped from an American flag at the Austin home Sunday afternoon, Barrett Austin's family and friends remembered a man they said always wanted to follow his grandfathers' footsteps into the military.

As a military brat himself, Curt Austin said he wanted lives with less sacrifice for his children. Once Barrett Austin was in high school, they knew he would do what he wanted to do. Barrett Austin joined the Army in December 2011. He trained to be a combat engineer and was shipped to Afghanistan on March 1, 2013.

"Combat engineers are the guys that perform route clearance for the army. It's probably the most dangerous job that they have. He knew that, but he said, ‘It had to be done. Who was going to do it?' It didn't phase him," said Curt Austin.

Curt Austin said he last spoke to his son after a mission about two weeks ago.

"He was pretty pumped up about what was going on and what they've been doing. I knew he was excited and proud. I did not realize he was going back out again," Curt Austin explained.

It was later that same week when Barrett Austin's platoon commander told the Austins that while returning from a sweep, an insurgent manually detonated a roadside bomb just as Barrett Austin drove by.

He and three others were hurt before there was a fire fight between the rest of his team and the enemy.

Curt Austin was told the other three injured were taken back to America, injured, but alive.

Two days after the attack, Barrett Austin was sent to a German hospital where his parents and his wife later met with his doctors. Curt Austin described the meeting as "pretty much them giving us their condolences of how sorry they were that they weren't able to do any more for him."

On Sunday, family, friends and Sen. Larry Martin visited the Austin family home. Their neighborhood was lined with American flags and yellow ribbons, honoring the soldier, brother, husband and son.

Curt Austin called his son "selfless." He said, "And I didn't get to realize it until now."

In remembering his son, Curt Austin said, "I hope one day that, that I can be as giving to others as he was."

The Austin family said Barrett Austin's body will be flown in to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport from Dover, DE. The plane landed about 11:30 a.m. amidst cloudy skies.

The Patriot Guard planned to escort Austin from GSP along Interstate 85 to Dillard funeral home in Pickens.

The Austins will receive friends at the Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley on Tuesday night from 6 to 8.

The funeral service will also be at Rock Springs on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Barrett Austin will receive full military honors at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pickens.

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