DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) – The remains of six soldiers killed in Afghanistan were returned to U.S. soil Tuesday as about 50 family members watched the flag-draped transfer cases be removed from a military cargo plane at Dover Air Force Base.

The quiet ceremony was punctuated only by a crying child.

The soldiers were identified by the military as Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk of South Portland, Maine; Spec. Michael P. Scusa of Villas, N.J.; Spec. Christopher T. Griffin of Kincheloe, Mich.; Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson of Reno, Nev.; Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, of Savannah, Ga.; and Spec. Stephen L. Mace of Lovettsville, Va.

First Lt. Joe Winter, a mortuary affairs base spokesman, said the six were killed in Afghanistan, but could not provide further details.

The soldiers’ arrival comes after hundreds of insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed two U.S. outposts in the mountainous Nuristan province Saturday. It was the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in more than a year. Officials have not yet identified the U.S. soldiers killed in those attacks.

Scusa, 22, joined the Army shortly after graduating from Lower Cape May Regional High School, said David Shuhart of Villas, N.J., who said he lived with Scusa and his mother after they moved to New Jersey from Nebraska in 2000.

Shuhart said Scusa was married and had a young son.


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