TAMPA — The body of an Air Force major killed on his first day in Afghanistan will be escorted Friday from MacDill Air Force Base.
Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II started his military career as a communications officer at MacDill, serving from 1999 to 2001, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He also served on temporary duty at U.S. Central Command.
Estelle, 40, from New Haven, Conn., was planning to move to Tampa with his wife, daughter and son, said his mother, Regina Estelle. "His wish was to be buried in Bushnell cemetery," she said. "He loved Florida."
He was one of eight U.S. troops killed in an April 27 attack at the Kabul airport in which an Afghan military pilot opened fire. The group, along with an American civilian contractor who was also killed, had been training the nascent Afghan air force.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, but investigators said they found no evidence of it.
Estelle met his wife, who is also in the military and originally from the Brandon area, during his 20 years in the service, his mother said. The major's remains are expected to arrive at MacDill Friday afternoon and the sheriff's escort will take his body to the Ray Williams Funeral Home at 301 N Howard Ave.
The route will be: leave MacDill at 2:45 p.m. from the Bayshore gate; north on Bayshore Boulevard; east across the Platt Street Bridge; north on Florida Avenue; east on Jackson Street; north on Jefferson Street; west on Twiggs Street; south on Ashley Drive; west on Kennedy Boulevard; and north on Howard Avenue.