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Louisianans remember Navy SEAL killed in Afghan helicopter attack

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Robert Reeves, 32, was among 38 killed in eastern Afghanistan last Saturday
  • Hundreds turn out in his native Shreveport to honor him in a memorial service
  • Reeves was one of 17 Navy SEALs who died in the attack
  • A Navy commander says, "Nothing made Rob happier than to serve with the best"

(CNN) -- Hundreds gathered in northern Louisiana on Saturday to honor a Navy SEAL, one of 30 U.S. military personnel killed one week earlier when their helicopter went down in Afghanistan.

The late Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Robert J. Reeves, 32, was honored in his hometown of Shreveport, with American flags and well-wishers lining the route to the city's St. Mark Cathedral.

"While we are overcome with grief from Robert's tragic loss, we will never forget the love he had for his family, his friends, the United States Navy and his Navy SEAL brothers," said Navy Cmdr. Bill Mahoney.

"Nothing made Rob happier than to serve with the best, because that's what Rob gave his family, his friends and everyone's lives he ever touched -- the best."

The attack on the helicopter in the eastern central province of Wardak represented the worst single-incident loss of American life since the start of the Afghan war. In addition to the 30 U.S. military personnel killed, seven Afghan troops and one civilian interpreter died in the crash.

Police and Patriot Guard riders were among those involved in the motorcade leading to the church. People lined the streets, many of them saluting the cars as the vehicles drove past.

The stairway to the church's entrance also contained U.S. flags. Reeves will be buried at sea in accordance with his family's wishes, according to CNN affiliate KTBS.

"It's just real sad that it had to come to this," Michelle Torres, the mother of a Navy member who came to show support for Reeves' family, told KTBS. "This young man, he did something that benefits us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice."

The 22 U.S. Navy personnel killed included 15 SEALs belonging to the top-secret unit that conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, resulting in his death. It was not immediately clear if Reeves was part of that unit. Two others were SEALs assigned to a regular naval special operations unit.