The final journey for Army Chief Warrant Officer Marwan S. Ghabour, an active duty helicopter pilot killed during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt, included a procession through Arlington, where the 27-year-old with a fondness for Buzz Lightyear grew up, before he was remembered at a service in Boston.
A funeral service was held Thursday morning at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center mosque in Roxbury for Ghabour, whose brother described him as a “loving person” who joined the Army “to be part of something greater than himself, serve this country, and help as many people as he can.”
Ghabour was a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot on his first overseas assignment as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force when the helicopter he was piloting crashed on the Saudi Arabian island of Tiran off the Sinai Peninsula on Nov. 12. Four other American service members and two members of the multinational force were killed.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the military.
The other American service members killed in the crash were Captain Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, N.C.; Staff Sergeant Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio; and Sergeant Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Ill., the Army said.
Ghabour’s brother, Muhaned Ghabour, told the Globe that the soldier was proud to be a Muslim fighting for his country.
“He had a very strong moral compass,” Muhaned Ghabour said. “He did the right thing at all times even when it was hard. He’s done many, many things when it was right even when it was hard.”
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and Representative Lori Trahan released a statement offering condolences. Representative Stephen F. Lynch tweeted condolences to Ghabour’s family.
Flags were lowered to half staff at all Boston police stations Thursday in his honor.
All flags on BPD facilities will be lowered to half-staff from sunrise until sunset today, November 19 the day of interment, in honor of Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, US Army, a native of Arlington, Massachusetts, who passed away on 11/12 in Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. pic.twitter.com/UlI3AiFwup— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) November 19, 2020
Ghabour, who also had two sisters, grew up in Arlington and graduated from Arlington High School in 2010 before attending Boston Architectural College, according to his family.
Other than an affinity for Buzz Lightyear from the “Toy Story” movies — he even hung a Buzz keychain in his car — there was little hint that a love of flight would begin to blossom in college, his brother said.
Though Ghabour took a job at the architectural firm CBT Architects in Boston after graduating in 2016, he found his real passion was in the sky. “Every time he would talk about flying, his eyes would light up,” his brother said.
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Hood, vice commander of Massachusetts Wing Civil Air Patrol, where Ghabour volunteered for about two years, said Saturday that Ghabour used it as a “steppingstone” to the military dreams he held, yet still made a real connection with him.
“He was an incredible young man,” Hood, who has been with the patrol for 18 years, said in a phone interview. His death “is beyond sad. I still can’t fathom it, to be honest.”
When they talked last month, he said, Ghabour said he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing.
“I can tell you flying helicopters for him was a dream come true. He was absolutely thrilled with the mission he was doing over there.”
According to the Army, Ghabour was commissioned as a warrant officer in 2018 and had been in Egypt since January as part of the Multinational Force and Observers, a peacekeeping mission founded to supervise the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty in 1981.
He had been awarded the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Aviation Badge.
Globe correspondent Lucas Phillips contributed to this report.