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Russian Rambo' Officer's Body Is Flown Back to Moscow for a Hero's Welcome

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"After all, order an airstrike on yourself is something that not everybody would be able to do."

In this photo released on Thursday March 24, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian government soldier takes his position inside a damaged palace, at the entrance of Palmyra, central Syria. Syrian government forces recaptured a Mamluk-era citadel in Palmyra from the extremist Islamic State group on Friday, Syrian state media and monitoring groups said, as the fierce battle for control of the historic town entered its third day. (SANA via AP)

The body of the officer known as the "Russian Rambo" was returned to his country this week to receive a hero's welcome following his March death during a reconnaissance mission in the Palmyra region in Syria.

Alexander Prokhorenko, 25, posthumously rose to fame after he chose to call in an airstrike on himself and take Islamic State militants with him rather than allow himself to be captured and tortured after the militants surrounded him, according to CNN. His sacrificial death, which was confirmed on March 24, was his contribution towards liberating Palmyra from the Islamic State terrorists and earned him worldwide recognition and honor.

"I don’t want them to take me and parade me, conduct the airstrike, they will make a mockery of me and this uniform," the "Russian Rambo" allegedly said during his final moments as he called in the airstrike on himself. "I want to die with dignity and take all these bast**ds with me ... this is the end commander, thank you, tell my family and my country I love them. Tell them I was brave and I fought until I could no longer."

This week, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Prokhorenko's body was returned to Moscow and welcomed with honor, according to Sputnik International.

"It was a matter of honor for the Defense Ministry to return the body of First Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko, Hero of the Russian Federation, from the hands of terrorists," the Ministry said in a statement. "The fallen officer's body was brought to Moscow after special actions involving the representatives of the Syrian government and Kurdish self-defense forces."

Prokhorenko's wife, Katya, who is pregnant with their first child, was there to greet his body upon its return, CNN reported.

One of the teachers at Prokhorenko's old school, Gorodetskoy Middle School, indicated that there have been many calls to rename the school after him to honor him for his bravery and selflessness.

"It is a real act of bravery that we will tell our pupils about," said Gorodetskoy teacher Nadezhda Rusinova, according to Sputnik. "After all, order an airstrike on yourself is something that not everybody would be able to do."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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