GREENVILLE - Spc. Joshua Nelson's remains arrived at the Pitt-Greenville airport Tuesday morning from Dover, Delaware.
Nelson's coffin was escorted by an Honor Guard to a hearse waiting nearby just after 9 a.m. The hearse then took Nelson's body to Congleton Memorial Mortuary in Greenville.
His father, Brian Nelson, says when he heard the news of his son's passing it was "a tough pill to swallow."
He was there as the plane arrived at the Pitt-Greenville Airport Tuesday morning.
"The plane had come from Dover here to Greenville, and after he was taken off the plane, he was put into the hearse," Nelson said.
Brian remembers the moment his son told him he wanted to join the U.S. Army two years ago.
"I was shocked. I was shocked that he wanted to go, but I also told him I've got his back and I supported him," Nelson said.
After Joshua got married to Quamisha Nelson in March 2011, the North Pitt High School graduate headed to boot camp in Utah. However, his Dad said he got to see Joshua one last time before his son left for his first tour in Afghanistan on May 30, 2011.
"He was just full of life," Nelson said.
Nelson said his son expressed that joy in their last conversation on Facebook before Joshua Nelson died.
"He said, I just can't wait to get home Dad, I just can't wait to get home and have a home cooked meal," Nelson said.
It's those memories of Joshua's smile and kindness that Brian said are helping him get through this difficult time.
"He died for his country and that makes him a hero," he said.
Barbara Brown with Congleton Memorial Mortuary said a public viewing will be held Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at Mount Calvary Free Will Baptist Church, which is located at 411 Watauga Avenue in Greenville.
Nelson's burial will take place Thursday at noon at the Coastal Carolina
State Veterans Cemetery, which is located at 110 Montford Point Road in Jacksonville. Brown tells us only family and friends will be invited to the burial.
Nelson was killed in Afghanistan September 16. Nelson said Army officials told him Afghan Soldiers turned on Joshua's Army brigade.
The Greenville native was just a month shy of his return home.
He leaves behind his wife, Quamisha, his older brother, Brian Nelson Jr., his younger sister Victoria Nelson and his 9-month-old niece, Camille Lashay Nelson.
Joshua would have been 23-years-old on November 2.