ROCKFORD, Ill. — The remains of a fallen Marine, Nathan Carlson, one of five service members killed in a training accident in California, were returned to his home base of Machesney Park near Rockford on Thursday.

Hundreds turned out to give the Marine a personal escort to his hometown, including bikers who took part in an honor procession.

“This is a fellow brother Marine and we always pay our respects to our fellow brothers and sisters. Semper Fi goes a long way with us. It’s called ‘forever faithful,'” said Pat Thomas with the Marine Vets Motorcycle Club, who served in the Marines from 1965 to 1969.

Carlson, 21, died along with four others 115 miles east of San Diego in a training mission that ended in tragedy. All five were aboard the MV-22B Osprey. The aircraft was based at Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and was part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Carlson was a 2019 graduate of Harlem High School and was on the swim team.

Family friend John Cabello, who traveled with the family on the bus from their home in Machesney Park outside of Rockford to O’Hare and then back home, said the fallen Marine was a son to him.

Cabellos told WGN News that Nathan Carlson was cremated, and his ashes were on the bus with the family.

“They were not expecting this outpouring of emotions when they saw it,” Cabello said.

At a young age, Carlson was excelling in The Corps, recently being promoted to crew chief.

“Nathan’s future, the sky was the limit,” Cabello said. “Always a positive kid very smart. He wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He wanted to be a Marine.”

His dedication to this country brought Lindsey Stevens to pay her respects, taking part in a sentimental journey home for Carlson.

“We need to show them that we do care about them and they are very important to us,” the Wolf PackBiker club member said. “I really hope the family realizes our hearts go out to them. The Marines, the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the military, they’re out there putting their lives on the line every day for all of us and our rights.”