Hunter Army Airfield held a memorial service for six soldiers today. They died last Wednesday. WTOC spoke with Hunter's chaplain, Maj. John Foxworth, who says this is a very tough time for the families and the entire Hunter community. He says one of the most important things they can do now is honor these soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"When a soldier gives his life for our nation, it is our honor to show the world and the families who will gather in this chapel, that we remember them," said Foxworth. "They were important to us."
Capt. James Adamouski, CWO Erik Halvorsen, CWO Eric Smith, CWO Scott Jamar, Sgt. Michael Pederson and Spec. Mathew Boule died last Wednesday when their UH 60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in Central Iraq.
"Families understand that this is part of the price we pay in order to be free," said Foxworth. "It's a very difficult time, but I think they're managing well under the circumstance."
At Hunter's chapel, a fitting tribute honors them. Aviator helmets are displayed to remember the men from the Second Battalion, Third Aviation Regiment. Rifles symbolize they were soldiers. Boots were for the dusty trail they walked. Dog tags identified them, and bronze stars that were awarded posthumously for their bravery.
"Each one loved his country and would do everything in their power to serve this country and did it readily," said Foxworth. "In the days to come, I know we will be able to rejoice together at the returning of our soldiers, but today we mourn the loss of these great Americans."
The soldiers' families are handling their funeral arrangements.