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Patriot Guard escorts fallen airman to Randolph AFB

Staff Sgt. Michael Anthony Cinco killed in Afghanistan


SAN ANTONIO – Members of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted fallen Staff Sgt. Michael Anthony Cinco from Schertz Funeral Home to Randolph Air Force Base on Wednesday.

Cinco, of Mercedes in the Rio Grande Valley, was killed just days before Christmas in Afghanistan.

Patriot Guard Riders are mainly former military veterans.

Michael Judge, the area ride captain for the San Antonio chapter of Patriot Guard Riders, said they stay out of the families' way, but try to simply be there as a show of support.

"Most of us are veterans and this is our way of showing respect and honor for our fallen brothers. To the families, it usually turns a solemn moment into a moment they say they can remember with pride and honor," Judge said. "We perform escorts and flag-line services for veterans, active-duty military and also first responders."

All volunteers, the riders often have to take off a day of work. But they said this easily could have been them and they want to support fallen military personnel as well as surviving family members.

One of the riders, whose nickname is Pappy, said he works for the flight transit crew. He said he parks planes when they arrive.

"And it only comes in for one reason, and it ain't a good reason," he said.

Transit planes bring service members who have been killed back to the States.

"I'm sick to death of this. I did my time in the service so my kids wouldn't have to do something like this," Pappy said.

Another one of the riders, Ray Lorence, served in the Air Force and the Marines.

"I'd been in the military for awhile. It's just a way to give honor and dignity to the young men and women," Lorence said.

Approximately 40 riders turned out Wednesday morning.