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Injured Marine Tyler Southern Home in Jacksonville; Community Lines Streets

10:24 AM, Aug 23, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- "Thank you for being here!" Tyler Southern said to a crowd of thousands surrounding his home as he returned from Afghanistan.

Southern, a U.S. Marine, had both legs and one arm taken by an explosive device while he was serving in the war on terror in May. 

A police and motorcycle escort met Marine Cpl. Tyler Southern at the Georgia state line and ushered him back to his home in Mandarin.

Friends and family lined the streets starting at the Interstate 295 off ramp and extending to Gathering Oaks Drive to cheer on the motorcade staring at about 4:30.

"That's the very least I could do to honor him," said neighbor Leila Flaugher.

It was a surprise, and Southern couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he returned home to a sea of red, white and blue.

"I can't believe the support," said Southern with a laugh.

The crowd cheered "U.S.A.!" as he came out of the garage to say hello, then serenaded him with "Happy Birthday."

Southern turns 21 Sunday.

He's been receiving treatment for his injuries from Bethesda Medical Center in Maryland.

Tyler Southern is the cousin of Charles Southern, who pleaded guilty in the murder of University Christian classmate Makia Coney. He'll be sentenced in October.

Soldiers from Jacksonville who died in Afghanistan (Courtesy CNN.com):

Sgt. Wakkuna Almira Jackson, 21
One of three soldiers k8illed when a roadside bomb detonated near their convoy vehicle in Kunar, Afghanistan Aug. 19, 2006

Cpl. Isaiah Calloway, 23
Died of injuries suffferes when his unit came in contract with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations in Marah, Afghanistan, Oct. 30, 2006

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Andrew Taylor, 22
Died while supporting combat operations in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 1, 2009

Chief Warrant Officer Chris Jon Scherkenbach, 40
One of the 16 U.S. troops killed when a MH-47D Chinook helicopter was shot down while trying to reinforce a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team near Asadabad, Afghanistan, in Kunar province on June 28, 2005.

Soldiers from Orange Park who died in Afghanistan:

Petty officer 2nd Class Laquita Pate James, 23
Died of apparent natural causes while deployed aboard the multipurpose amphibious asssault ship, the USS Bataan off the coast of Somalia on Feb. 12, 2007

Sgt. Bradley Stephen Crose, 27
Shot and killed when he and fellow Rangers were exiting a Chinook helicopter while under fire after landing on Takur Ghar mountain near Gardez, Paktia province, Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda on March 4, 2002

Master Sgt. John Eric Hayes, 36
One of two Marines killed during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 8, 2009

Soldiers from Green Cove Springs who died in Afghanistan:

Master Sgt. James Bertrand Lackey, 45
One of two airmen killed along with a U.S. soldier and a U.S. government contractor when their CV-22 Osprey crashed seven miles (11 km) west of Qalat during a combat operation targeting a terrorist network in Zabul province, Afghanistan, on April 9, 2010

Soldiers from Middleburg who died in Afghanistan:

Master Sgt. John Eric Hayes, 36
One of two Marines killed during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 8, 2009

First Coast News

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