Remains of sailor killed in Iraq return to San Diego

CORONADO, Calif. – A hero flight with the remains of a Coronado-based sailor killed in northern Iraq arrived in San Diego Friday, Navy officials announced.

The remains of Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, arrived at the San Diego International Airport around 10 a.m.

Finan, who served 13 years on active duty, died Oct. 20 from wounds sustained during an improvised explosive device blast near Ba'shiqah, Iraq.  Finan was serving in an advisory capacity to the Iraqi coalition force supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

"The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the sailor we lost," said Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific.

A three-mile procession led by the California Highway Patrol from the San Diego International airport, traveled along N. Harbor Drive, turned left onto Laurel Street, then left onto 5th Avenue, to the Merkley-Mitchell Mortuary.  Procession route for Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan

The Pentagon said Finan died taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, the umbrella name for U.S. military operations against ISIS. He was the first U.S. service member to die while supporting the ongoing  operation to take back Mosul from ISIS since that operation began this week, according to an article on Military.com.

Finan's death is the fourth since U.S. forces began helping the Iraqi Army fight ISIS. The toll includes Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin of Temecula, who died in March; Coronado-based Navy SEAL Charlie Keating IV, a petty officer first class killed in May; and Army Delta Force Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, who died last year in a raid that freed around 70 hostages.

Finan joined the Navy in 2003. He received many decorations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V device and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, a Navy spokeswoman said. He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three based at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

Finan lived in Imperial Beach with his wife.

A private memorial service will be held for Finan’s family on Nov. 1 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado.

The family has set up an online fundraiser.