HAZEL CREST, Ill. - The remains of a suburban Chicago soldier killed in an attack on a military base in Kenya arrived Wednesday in his home town.
Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., of Hazel Crest, was among three Americans killed on Jan. 4 at Manda Bay Airfield, which is used by the U.S. military.
Mayfield’s body arrived at O’Hare International Airport in a military plane and a procession traveled with the hearse from the airport. It drove past Mayfield's alma mater, Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, stopped briefly at Hazel Crest Village Hall, then went on to a funeral home in Chicago.
Clara Patten and her daughter, Nicole, clutched flags outside Village Hall waiting for the procession to pass. Clara Patten said she didn’t know Mayfield, but she was close to tears when she learned of his death.
Mayfield’s family and community members gathered Tuesday to honor the soldier by dedicating every Jan. 14 as "Henry Mayfield Jr. Day” in Hazel Crest.
Mayfield joined the Army in 2018 after a year in college and was most recently stationed at Fort Rucker in Alabama, said his father, Henry Mayfield Sr. He said his son had been in Kenya since October, installing and maintaining heating and cooling systems.
Al-Shabab, a militant group based in neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the assault, which the Pentagon says also killed two defense department contractors.