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Family and friends gather in front of a display dedicated to fallen Marines at a memorial service aboard Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, June 3. The ceremony honored six Marines killed in a UH-1Y helicopter crash while conducting relief efforts in Nepal.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kimberlyn Adams

HMLA-469 hosts memorial ceremony for Marines killed in Nepal

4 Jun 2015 | Lance Cpl. Kimberlyn Adams 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Family, friends and fellow service members gathered on the flight line to remember six fallen Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 469, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Corps Installations Pacific, at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, June 3.

Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, 29, a UH-1Y pilot with HMLA-469 and a Harlan, Nebraska, native; Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, 31, a UH-1Y pilot with HMLA-469 and a Sedgwick, Kansas, native; Sgt. Ward M. Johnson IV, 29, a UH-1Y helicopter chief with HMLA-469 and a Seminole, Florida, native; Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, 30, a UH-1Y helicopter crew chief with HMLA-469 and a Riverside, California, native; Cpl. Sara A. Medina, 23, a combat photographer with MCIPAC, Okinawa, Japan, and a Kane, Illinois, native; and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, 22, a combat videographer with MCIPAC, Okinawa, Japan, and a Maricopa, Arizona, native, were killed when a UH-1Y Huey helicopter crashed north of Charikot, Nepal, on May 12 in support of Operation Maitri.

The Marines were helping with humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief operations after recent earthquakes in Nepal.

“Our Marines gave their lives so that others might live,” said Lt. Col. Edward W. Powers, commanding officer of HMLA-469. “They gave their lives for the suffering of countless Nepalese to be eased.”

During the ceremony, many people spoke of the Marines' dedication and passion to the cause.

“Weather was deteriorating that afternoon, but our Marines pushed on regardless, fearlessly executing their mission,” said Powers.

Family and friends also read eulogies and reminisced about the memories they had with the fallen Marines.

“After a while being friends with Mark, you had family and having family during deployment and holidays is something truly special,” said Sgt. Kyle K. Hutton, a crew member training instructor with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303, who gave Johnson’s eulogy. “Mark made that possible to all he brought into his life.”

The squadron displayed pictures of the fallen Marines and memorials for families and friends to say their final goodbyes.

“As we grieve, we cannot focus on the tragedy of their deaths,” said Powers. “We must focus on the brilliance of the way they lived their lives.”



3rd Marine Aircraft Wing