5 missing Black Hawk soldiers remembered in heartfelt ceremony

(Image: Wounded Warriors Project)
(Image: Wounded Warriors Project)
(Image: Wounded Warriors Project)
(Image: Wounded Warriors Project)

KAENA POINT, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Community members gathered near Kaena Point on Saturday to pay tribute to the five aviators missing since last Tuesday, when their Army helicopter crashed off Oahu's North Shore.

A Hawaiian ceremony was held to honor their lives and service.

Families of the soldiers arrived in Hawaii earlier this week with the help of Wounder Warrior Project.

They sat together under a canopy Saturday wearing shirts and hats bearing the names and photos of their heroes.

They were also offered ho'okupu, or Hawaiian gifts, including lei, framed pictures and sunrise shells, which are found only in the deepest waters of Hawaii.

"If you look at them, they're very bright-colored so it represents that in the darkest deepest waters and turbulence that we're going through in our lives, that there is still light, there's still a community out here willing to walk with you guys through that darkness," said Kayla Richelle Clark of Wounded Warriors Project.

Military officials suspended search and rescue efforts on Monday, five days after the UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter carrying the soldiers crashed off Kaena point during a night time training.

Army officials said four helmets and helicopter debris were found, but there were no signs of the missing crew.

"Unfortunately these things happen," said event organizer Makani Christensen. "We never want it to happen, but this is the least we can do as a community."

Following the ceremony, family and friends walked the 3.5 mile Kaena Point trail.

"It's part of the healing process and a remembrance and just to reflect on today's events and life in general," said Christensen.

Operations were transitioned to a recovery mission and an effort to figure out what caused the crash.

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