Family members and military colleagues of six U.S. Marines killed in a helicopter crash last month in earthquake-ravaged Nepal gathered Wednesday for a memorial service at Camp Pendleton.
Wednesday afternoon’s flight-line ceremony culminated with a 21-gun salute, a playing of taps and a helicopter fly-over.
The UH-1Y Huey attached to Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 469 went down about eight miles north of the town of Charikot on a steep Himalayan mountainside hours after a magnitude-7.3 aftershock to an earlier disastrous temblor struck the region on May 12. The wreckage of the aircraft was found three days later.
Killed in the crash were Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, 31, of Sedgwick, Kansas; Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, 29, of Harlan, Neb.; Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, 30, of Riverside; Sgt. Ward M. Johnson IV, 29, of Seminole, Fla.; Cpl. Sara A. Medina, 23, of Kane, Ill.; and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, 22, of Maricopa, Ariz.
The personnel aboard the Camp Pendleton-based chopper were participating in a disaster-relief mission called “Operation Sahayogi Haat” when their helicopter was reported missing. They had been diverted from a joint task force exercise in the Philippines to assist with search and rescue in the South Asian country.
Aircraft from the United States, India and Nepal took part in the search for the missing helicopter and Marines.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation, according to USMC officials.
— City News Service
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