Patriot Guard escorts fallen Sprague soldier’s body


Posted on June 20, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 6:45 PM

SPRAGUE, Wash. -- The body of a soldier from Sprague was escorted to a funeral home in Spokane Friday.

Corporal Justin Clouse will be remembered with full military honors in Spokane on Saturday. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

The Patriot Guard escorted Corporal Clouse’s body to the funeral home.

“These are the least favorite of the missions that we perform, but they are the most important and this is why we were created,” said Vietnam Veteran Larry Griffith.

His body arrived in Spokane from the East coast at 10:30 a.m. The Patriot Guard was asked to lead a rolling Honor Guard from the airport to Riplinger Funeral Home. Griffith said the procession went from Pilot Dr. to Geiger Blvd, down Sunset Hill to Government Way and then to the funeral home on North Division.

Griffith said Clouse’s relative, Dave Clouse, rides with the Patriot Guard. He will ride in the missing man slot.

“The first time I talked to him, it was obviously that this shook him. It shakes the family altogether but sometimes it’s a little easier for us military guys, not the case that Dave was distressed,” said Griffith.

Dave, a Vietnam and Desert Storm War Veteran who rides guard, said the service hit him close to home.

“If you can complete the ride with dry eyes there’s something wrong. And now it’s obviously emotional,” said Dave Clouse.

As the riders pulled away side by side, Dave rode with a vacant spot beside him in the missing man formation.

The Patriot Guard participates in these services at the request of the family. Griffith said the riders always want the call.

“We want an invitation to be able to show the family that people don’t even know care about what happened.”

A memorial service for Clouse was set for Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Life Center Church.

The Patriot Guard will continue to provide an escort for Cpl. Clouse until he is laid to rest.