PHOENIX — American Airlines Flight 428 arrived on time at gate A11, but nobody was in a rush to get off the plane first. Fallen Avondale Marine LCpl Justin Hinds would be the first to touch Arizona soil.
Hinds parents and siblings were waiting, standing tall and receiving his body with the dignity they say he deserves.
"I'm proud of my son, his dedication and his services," Hinds father Curtis said while standing on the tarmac.
This is a moment Justin's mother Patricia has been waiting for since learning the horrific news nearly two weeks earlier. "My baby is home, my son is here and I'm grateful."
Hinds, who was stationed at Camp Lejeume, drowned while swimming with some friends during an R&R weekend at the beach. The 28-year-old was caught in a rip tide and pronounced dead after being pulled from the water.
Now, his body is back in Arizona, the place he called home for many years before joining the Army and eventually the Marines.