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US serviceman who helped foil train attack returns home to hero’s welcome

Frédéric Dumoulin, AFP | Spencer Stone at the US embassy in Paris on August 23, 2015

The US Air Force serviceman who was injured after he and two friends tackled a heavily armed gunman on a high-speed train en route to Paris returned home to California on Thursday night to a hero’s welcome.


Airman First Class Spencer Stone arrived at about 8:30pm local time at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, near Sacramento.

Stone stepped off the plane from Rammstein, Germany, to cheers from about 200 people who had gathered to greet him, many brandishing small American flags. He waved at the crowd and hugged family and friends on the tarmac before quickly walking into the terminal.

Military officials planned to take Stone, whose thumb was nearly severed by the attacker, immediately to the base hospital for evaluations, Lt. Col. Robert Couse-Baker said.

Stone has been undergoing medical treatment in Germany since he, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and Sacramento college student Anthony Sadler, all childhood friends from the Sacramento area, subdued the gunman on a passenger train speeding from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21.

The efforts of the three Americans, along with Briton Chris Norman, earned them France’s highest honour, the Légion d’honneur.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced on Thursday that a parade honouring the men, who grew up in the Sacramento area and attended middle and high school together, was set for Friday, Sept. 11.

“Our community has been anxiously awaiting the return of our three hometown heroes – Anthony, Alek and Spencer – so that we can celebrate and honour their incredible courage,” he said in a statement.

The parade will also honour the victims and first responders who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, the mayor’s office said.

Stone was the last of the three friends to return to the United States.


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