KINGSPORT — Local first responders paid their respects to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss by flying a giant U.S. flag over Interstate 81 Thursday morning.

Knauss, 23, was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in action during a suicide bombing attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Aug. 26. His body was being transported from Knoxville to Arlington National Cemetery Thursday morning, escorted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Members of the Kingsport Fire Department, Sullivan County EMS and the Tri-Cities Airport police gathered at the bridge over I-81 at Exit 63 early Thursday morning to fly the flag and salute the fallen soldier.

Knauss joined the Army in May 2016 and had previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 before completing the Psychological Operations Qualification Course and being assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), according to the Task and Purpose website.

Among his awards and decorations are the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

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