When U.S. Staff Sgt. Matthew Leach's body , an assembly of motorcycles were there.
"Once the soldier touches down, we'll never leave him," said Michigan Patriot Guard Capt. Rich (Sniper) Bielat of Chesterfield Township.
Bielat was among approximately 100 other motorcyclists, many military veterans, who lined up Monday morning along Marketplace Boulevard near Hall Road in the township.
From there, Chesterfield police and the Patriot Guard drove to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township in support of Leach's service to his country. The fallen serviceman's family requested their presence at the military base where his body was brought and then to a Sterling Heights funeral home.
Leach, a 29-year-old Ferndale resident, husband and father of an infant son, died June 26 while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1/334th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 104th Training Division in Fraser, according to the Department of Defense.
Major Alex Johnson, public affairs officer for the 104th Training Division, on the floor of the facility where he was stationed and did not recover.
"The cause of death is not yet determined," Johnson said.
Leach joined the military in 2003 and served on active duty until 2008, including two tours in Iraq—one from 2005 to 2006 and another from 2007 to 2008. He then went into the Army Reserves and this was his first deployment from the Reserves, he said.
"It's like a piece of the family being lost," said Patriot Road Guard Ray Pagan of Mount Morris.
Pagan, who retired from the U.S. Air Force and served in Vietnam, said the rides get emotional.
"That's why most of us wear sunglasses," said the father of an Army solider who's served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. "We're just here to support the family, to honor this fallen soldier.
Visitation, funeral service
Visitation is scheduled from 2-9 p.m. Tuesday at Wujek-Calcaterra and Sons Funeral Home at 36900 Schoenherr in Sterling Heights. A funeral service will be at noon Wednesday at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. A fund to support Leach's 7-month-old son with his wife Sarah has been created at Bank of America-Jack Hunter Leach: Account number 3750 1090 7747, according to the funeral home website.