With an honor guard of retired Marines standing by, the body of Marine Cpl. Christopher M. Monahan Jr. was returned to Ocean County on Tuesday.
An escort of nearly 100 motorcycles, comprised of cyclists from the Legion Riders, the Patriot Riders, the Patriot Guard, as well as NJ state troopers, police from Toms River and police and firefighters from Island Heights, guarded and guided the path of Monahan's return, from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home on Main Street in Toms River.
Monahan, 25, a 2006 Central Regional High School graduate who grew up in Ocean Gate but more recently had lived in Island Heights, was killed in action on Nov. 26 in Afghanistan's Helmand Province when the truck he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device.
Two dozen family members, some quietly crying, watched as a Marine Corps detail removed Monahan's flag-draped casket from the hearse that brought him from Dover Air Force Base, and carried it up the steps, where they placed it on a casket carriage and moved it inside the funeral home.
Monahan is survived by his wife Sarah, and his children Nathan, Kierlyn and Caleb; his parents, Christopher M. Monahan Sr. and Sandra Monahan; his maternal grandparents, Lenny and Linda Adams of Toms River, and paternal grandmother, Leah Monahan of Bayville. He has a brother, Matt, and sister, Kaitlyn as well as extended family.
A viewing is set for Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and his funeral is set to begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church in Bayville. He will be buried at Brig. General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his name to the Rotary Club of Toms River, P.O. Box 751, Toms River, NJ 08754, www.hometownheros.org or Toys for Tots, according to his obituary in the Asbury Park Press.