Story by Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy Vought
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Marine Security Guards serving at the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu, Nepal, came together with State Department and Marine Corps leadership, Nov. 6, 2015, to honor the six Marines killed while saving lives after multiple earthquakes struck Nepal in May.
The six Marines, along with two Nepalese Army Liaison soldiers and five injured Nepalese civilians, lost their lives during an aircraft mishap on May 12. The Marines were conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in support of Joint Task Force 505, during Operation Sahayogi Haat when their aircraft went down.
“The courage that they displayed, being on the helicopter and going out and doing these dangerous missions in uncharted territory many of the times, it was just unparalleled,” said Staff Sgt. Jason E. Stevens, detachment commander, Marine Security Guard Detachment Kathmandu.
In the ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal the Honorable Alaina B. Teplitz, Brig. Gen. Tracy W. King, commanding general, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, and the Marine Security Guard Detachment dedicated the Heritage Room in the Marine House on the embassy grounds officially naming it ‘Vengeance Hall’.
‘Vengeance Hall’ will be named after the call sign of the UH-1Y Huey – ‘Vengeance 01’. The four aircrew Marines and helicopter belonged to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, from Camp Pendleton, CA. The two other Marines on board were from Combat Camera, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan.
Each Marine was immortalized for their contributions to the relief efforts in Nepal and their faithful service to the Marine Corps.
“This room, in the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu’s Marine House, will serve as a sanctuary for their memory. They will forever be remembered and honored, and they will hold a special place in the history of the Marine Corps and of the United States’ partnership with Nepal,” said Teplitz.
As soon as the detachment heard about the fallen Marines serving the people of Nepal, they began the process of honoring them properly, according to Stevens.
“It was instant,” the Chester, Illinois native said. “It’s import to dedicate this room to the Marines because of the sacrifices they made that day. Serving during a time a war was enough in itself to be honored and remembered. They took it a step further and dedicated their live to a cause they felt was worthy to their institution and to their country.”
Many of the fallen Marine families watched the ceremony live via social media.
“To the families, we could never repay the loss that you’ve suffered from their sacrifices, but dedicating this Heritage Room in their name is just a small token of our appreciation for them giving their lives to a cause they deemed greater than their life.” Stevens said.
The following Marines honored were:
Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, 29, Harlan, Nebraska.
Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, 31, Sedgwick, Kansas.
Sgt. Ward M. Johnson, IV, 29, Seminole, Florida.
Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, 30, Riverside, California.
Cpl. Sara A. Medina, 23, Aurora, Illinois.
Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, 22, Maricopa, Arizona.
While today’s ceremony was in honor of the six fallen Marines, it also served as a reminder to the many countries who came together to ease the suffering of the thousands of Nepalese people who were tragically affected by the multiple earthquakes.
“These brave men and woman gave their lives in support of a cause they deemed far greater than themselves, a cause bound in dedication to their country, their Corps, and to the country and people of Nepal,” Teplitz said in her remarks.
“Marines and all the uniform services of the United States – everybody knows that we’ll march to the sound of the gun. I think this proves that we’ll also march to the sound of the crisis,” stated King. “If you call us again, we’ll be there.”
All photo and video products of the event will be available at: www.dvidshub.net/feature/vengeance01.