CHARLOTTE -- Patriot Guard Rider Tim Long said there was no question to stop by the North Carolina Air National Guard Base in west Charlotte.
"These guys missed the 4th, doing what they loved to do," said Long.
He was part of a group of riders who welcomed the men home in February from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and it's a memory Long won't forget.
"Children welcoming mothers and fathers home. And mothers and fathers, wives, just a wonderful moment. Everyone was so happy to see them come home. And they were safe," said Long.
Lt. Col. Paul Mikeal, Maj. Joseph McCormick, Maj. Ryan David and Senior Master Sgt.
Robbie Cannon died when the C-130 plane they were flying crashed near Edgemont, S.D.
Two others survived the crash, including Josh Marlowe.
"There's not words for what we can say to the family about it. They did a tremendous sacrifice for people they don't really know, a state they don't really know," said Edgemont Mayor Jim Turner.
Turner said the White Draw wildfire is now 70 to 80 percent contained, something that wasn't possible without the Charlotte-based crew.
There was a memorial Thursday morning, made up of 400 firefighters, staff and community members to honor those killed.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard also ordered flags to be flown at half-mast.
"It's very important the people in South Dakota understand the sacrifice that our National Guard, soldiers and airmen make when they sign up to respond," said Daugaard.
A spokesman with the Air National Guard in Charlotte says there are currently no concrete plans on funeral services for the four men killed.
Watch a tribute video