Story by LCpl Luke Kuennen on 01/13/2018
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 (HMH-463) hosted an all-hands 10K hike from Hangar 102 to Fort Hase Beach, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 11, 2017.
The hike commemorated the 12 Marines from the squadron who were lost in a CH-53E crash while conducting training in 2016.
"Today we had a remembrance hike for the Marines of Pegasus 3-1 and 3-2," said Capt. Michael Seabolt, a pilot and the family readiness officer for the squadron. "On Jan. 14, 2016, we had a mishap here at the squadron that took two aircraft and 12 of our Marines with it. We did this hike to remember them, honor them, and really reflect on some of the sacrifices made for the squadron."
While the hike was a solemn reminder of those the squadron lost, it also served as an event to help celebrate the Marines' lives and the proud traditions of HMH-463.
"In the Marine Corps, we like to reach back to our heritage and our history." Seabolt said. "We're very loyal to the Marines that came before us. These are 12 Marines that have come and gone before us, so it's really about awareness and honoring the fallen."
Families of HMH-463 Marines were also encouraged to participate in the event. Among those in attendance was Trina Hart, the mother of Lance Cpl. Tyler Hart.
"Today was wonderful," Hart said. "I think it's great to bring everyone together. The way they posted the pictures along the route, and then brought them in all together at the end was
Hart emphasized the effect of the support from the Marine Corps that she and her husband have received since the accident.
"For the last two years, I haven't gone a month without someone in the Marine Corps reach out to me," Hart said. "I have several friends who have lost their sons in the civilian world, and I've seen them all go through it without nearly the amount of support we've received."
The commanding officer of HMH-463, Lt. Col. Kevin Hunter, thanked Mr. and Mrs. Hart for attending the event, and echoed Seabolt's sentiments on Marines' dedication to their history and the fallen.
"The Marine Corps is history, and we cannot forget those who have gone before us," Hunter said. "These men paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we owe it to them to reflect upon their memory, and remember the great things they did and provided for us."
Also participating was Sgt. Thomas Reilly, a collateral duty quality assurance representative with the squadron, who was newly a newly promoted corporal working late at the squadron's hangar the night of the crash.
"I was running the desk that night, but since we were short staffed, I actually had to run out to the flight line and taxi those birds off," Reilly said. "I was one of the last ones to wave them goodbye."
Reilly said completing the hike was important to other Marines like himself who had served with those who were lost, as well as newer Marines joining the squadron.
"For the Marines that were here, and even the Marines that have moved on to different duty stations, it's good to show that we're remembering them," said Reilly. "It also shows the Marines under us that just showed up that we're all human, and that we're all one gigantic family."