Veterans honor fallen guardsmen at USS Kidd
BATON ROUGE - A vigil held at the USS Kidd Louisiana Memorial Plaza Thursday honored the eleven lives lost in a Black Hawk helicopter crash earlier this week.
A wreath was tossed from the USS Kidd into the Mississippi River to remember the fallen.
"It's really hard when we lose one soldier, let alone four, especially from a tight-knit group like this," said Secretary of the La. Dept. of Veterans Affairs David LaCerte.
The helicopter went down in about 25 feet of water near Pensacola. Four of the people on board were National Guardsmen based in Hammond. The bodies of two of them have not been recovered. Seven others were Marines from North Carolina.
Bodies of the entire Marine unit and two from the Hammond-based unit have been recovered and identified. Families have also been notified.
At the Kidd, veterans, family, friends and members of the Patriot Guard paid their respects by lighting candles and speaking at the vigil. Mark Henry, Sr., was with the Charlie Company 1-244th, the same company as the Louisiana Guardsmen who lost their lives Tuesday night when something went wrong.
"You grow really quite close to a lot of these people, if not all of them in some way or another," he said.
Henry knew some of the men who went down and Thursday night, his emotions were for those people.
"It really hurts, when they hurt," he said. "And in this instance, it's their families that are hurting and those that they leave behind."
A flag flew half-staff at the Louisiana Memorial Plaza to remember those who served and paid with the ultimate sacrifice.