Capt. Ross Reynolds, the Leominster Marine who died March 19 in a plane crash in Norway, will be flown back to Massachusetts on Saturday ahead of a funeral scheduled for Tuesday.
The 27-year-old and three other Marines were aboard an Osprey plane that crashed during a NATO exercise, the Marine Corps said. All four crew members were killed.
“The Marines who tragically died in the crash are all heroes,” Governor Charlie Baker said Sunday. “We honor [Reynolds’] service to our nation and pray for his family.
After his body was delivered to Logan Airport in Boston on Saturday, a procession will escort Reynolds home to Leominster. Residents are invited to line the streets to welcome the Navy Captain home, said Richard Voutour, director of veterans services for Leominster.
Norwegian officials said the Marines were returning to base during a training operation known as Cold Response when their Osprey crashed south of the Norwegian town of Bodø. The crash killed the entire crew of four, all members of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, the marines said.
Capt. Matthew Tomkiewicz, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, also died in the crash; Artillery Sergeant. James Speedy, 30, of Cambridge, Ohio; and cap. Jacob Morse, 24, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Their bodies returned to the United States last Friday.
Reynolds was approaching five years of service in the Marines, during which he earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Ospreys and was based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina.
In a statement, the Reynolds family said they were “heartbroken” and trying to imagine life without their son.
“We are in shock and devastated by his loss. His smile, his hugs, his laughter will be missed. His energy and kindness will be missed. Ross was so caring, compassionate, and committed, not only to his country, but to being the best son, brother, husband, son-in-law, nephew, cousin, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, and Marine he could be. We appreciate everyone who has reached out to support us during this difficult time. We pray for Ross and the other Marines lost in this tragic accident,” the family said, according to WCVB.
Reynolds will be honored with a public candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall on Sunday. It will be followed by a public vigil at City Hall from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday.
A mass and funeral will be held Tuesday at St. Cecilia’s Church on Mechanic Street. It will be broadcast at City Hall and followed by a private burial at the Massachusetts Veterans Cemetery in Winchendon.
The procession on Saturday will begin on Mechanic Street near Johnny Ro Park, follow the road to West Street, where it will continue to Anderson Funeral Home via Maple Avenue, Merriam Avenue, South Street, Electric Avenue and Clarendon Street. Officials did not say exactly when the motorcade would pass through town, but said a fire whistle would sound at fire headquarters about 30 minutes before it arrived.
Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said the Reynolds family were active in scouts and could always be seen in the forefront at veteran and community events, with Ross often holding a flag.
“Captain Reynolds, unsurprisingly to any of us, has become an Eagle Scout,” the mayor said. “We are a tight-knit and loyal community and we are ready to help his mother, father, sister and wife Lana.”