Soldier’s body to be returned today

September 25, 2007

   LIMA — It wasn’t that long ago that Chris Neff was hard at work, perhaps even goofing off or talking to a friend in the hall on the way to a class, at Apollo Career Center and the Shawnee middle and high schools.    This morning, a police and motorcycle escort will take his body past those buildings on his way Patterson Air from Wright Force Base to Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home for calling hours Wednesday and Thursday.    Neff, 19, an Army specialist, was killed Wednesday by an explosion while on patrol in Baghdad, Iraq.    Neff’s funeral plans were announced Monday. His body will arrive at Wright Patterson this morning with a military escort for a private ceremony, Army. Sgt. David Kuta said.    And then, Neff will “come home,” as his mother, Nancy Neff, is saying about the trip, Kuta said.    A police-escorted procession, including members of the Patriot Guard, motorcyclists who volunteer their time escorting fallen soldiers, will leave the base between 9:30 and 10 a.m. and travel north on Interstate 75 to the Breese Road exit. The procession will travel in front of the Shawnee school buildings and Apollo Career Center on its way to the funeral home.    Friends may call at the funeral home from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. His funeral will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Shawnee United Methodist Church, with burial immediately after.    Neff was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga. In Iraq, he was an M-1 Abrams tank driver and gunner and a Humvee driver.    He completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. Neff graduated in 2006 from Apollo Career Center in computer applications programming.