Louis Tushla escort route and timeline; Soldier’s remains returning home

ATKINSON, Neb. -- On Thursday, July 15, the remains of United States Navy Fireman 1st Class Louis Tushla will be escorted from Offutt Air Force base in Omaha to the Seger Funeral Home in Atkinson.

Tushla's remains were successfully identified in 2020 by the Offutt lab at the Offutt Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska. His identification was part of a six-year project to identify the remains of unknown soldiers buried at the "Punchbowl" the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Leading the escort will be Tushla's family as well as American Legion Riders from across Nebraska. According to Andrew Langan, a Legion Rider from Post 86 and the coordinator of the route at least 100 Legion Riders are expected to show for the escort. However, he also says that it is difficult to know how many riders will turn out until the day of the event.

On December 7, 1941, Tushla would be among the 429 crewmen who would perish on board the USS Oklahoma. He was the first person from Holt County to die in World War II.

The route will follow the timeline below, however, traffic could slow down the escort preventing the riders from arriving on time. Langan also said the escort will pull over to allow cars to pass if it begins to slow down traffic. Cars will be allowed to pass, but may not be able to due to the number of people in the escort.

11:45 am - Navy Salute Casket Handoff Additional individuals will stage at the visitor center parking lot just outside of the STRATCOM South Gate until ready.

12:00 pm - Small escort w/family will depart Offutt AFB STRATCOM Gate/Visitor Center on Hwy 75 to Hwy 370 into Gretna. Any staged vehicles at the visitor center will join the escort.

12:30 pm – Depart north from Gretna on Hwy 6 to Hwy 275 into Fremont

1:15 pm - Arrive in Fremont, NE for maintenance stop at Sapp Bros Truck Stop. Pickup addition AL Riders & escort vehicles.

1:35 pm - Depart Fremont on Hwy 30 towards Sapp Brothers Truck Stop, Columbus, NE 2:35 pm – Arrive at Columbus Sapp Brothers Truck Stop for fueling

3:00 pm – Depart Columbus, NE taking bypass through Columbus to Hwy 81 North to Cubbies Truckstop, Norfolk, NE

4:00 pm - Arrive at Norfolk Cubbies Truckstop, allowing Norfolk PD to set up traffic blocks, fuel, and re-stage escort

4: 30 pm - Depart Cubbies at Norfolk Hwy 81 North to Hwy 275 west to w/Hwy 20 into Atkinson, NE

6:10 pm - Arrive at Seger Funeral Home in Atkinson NE

News Channel Nebraska and affiliated radio stations will be providing live updates of Louis Tushla's return to Atkinson on Thursday.