Body of South Florida soldier killed in Syria returns home

Wife of Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer kisses flag-draped casket

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor, Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The body of a South Florida solider killed in a suicide bombing in Syria last month has returned home.

A plane carrying the body of Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer arrived at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday morning, receiving a traditional water cannon salute as it approached the gate on the tarmac.

Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, and three others were killed in the Jan. 16 bombing in Manbij.

The bombing, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, came less than a month after President Donald Trump declared the militants defeated and ordered 2,000 U.S. troops in the country be withdrawn.

Farmer's family greeted the U.S. flag-draped casket as it was unloaded from the plane. His wife was photographed kissing the casket. 

Jonathan Farmer's wife kisses her husband's casket after the soldier's body arrives at Palm Beach International Airport.

The body then received a hero's escort from the airport to a Jupiter funeral home.

A graduate of the Benjamin School, Farmer joined the Army in 2005 and had served on six overseas combat tours.

"What an impact he made in the two short years he was here," teacher and former athletic director Ron Ream said. "Jon was just one of those kids with a lot of charisma and a lot of magnetism that drew people toward him."

Ream said Farmer excelled in sports at the Benjamin School.

"You can tell he was squared away and knew where he was headed and knew what he wanted to do in life. There was never any doubt that Jon was going to succeed," Ream said. "I'm so sorry for his family."

Farmer is survived by his wife and four children.

There will be a local funeral service for Farmer at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Palm Beach Gardens. He'll then be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

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