2017-08-01 / Features

Honoring Fallen Marines Aug. 19

A crew of six U.S. Marines aboard Vengeance 01 made the ultimate sacrifice May 12, 2015, while providing humanitarian and lifesaving assistance to Nepalese earthquake victims during Operation Sahayogi Haat.

On Jan. 14, 2016, two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters collided off the coast of Oahu during a night combat training mission. All 12 Marines onboard the two HMH-463 aircraft lost their lives in the tragic mishap.

Five months later, on June 2, 2016, Blue Angel pilot Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed when his F/A Hornet fighter jet impacted the ground during practice for an air show in Smyrna, Tenn.

On the fifth anniversary of the Marine Aviation Memorial Bell Tower dedication to the Greater Pensacola Bay community, Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola will host a memorial ceremony for the fallen Marine aircrews who gave their lives in these instances. The ceremony for Vengeance 01, Pegasus 31 and 32 and Blue Angel 6 will be Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Bell Tower, located between East Romana Street and Bayfront Parkway on 10th Street.

Directions to the site and additional information about the park are available at veteransmemorialparkpensacola.com.

The ceremony will include family members and friends of the fallen, active duty service members and veterans. It will be open to the public, as well.

Capt. Butch Hansen, U.S. Navy,

Retired, and president of Veterans

Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, will preside over the ceremony. Col. Don Chipman, commanding officer of Marine Aviation Training Support Group-23 aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, will be the speaker.

As an important part of the ceremony, three memorial bricks that have been placed at the base of the Marine Aviation Memorial Bell Tower will be unveiled. These commemorate the losses, noted above, to our nation and provide a permanent place of remembrance of these fallen Marines.

A fundraising effort to secure funds for the plaques being placed in memory of these dedicated service men and to assist with travel expenses for the families of these fallen Marines has been established. Many of them will be arriving from quite a distance and will need assistance in making the trip. To make a donation, go to https://www.gofundme.com/HonorOurMarines.

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