Family and friends honored a fallen soldier with a memorial Saturday. Lt. Col. John Hennessey was in Hawaii after spending a year in Iraq. He drowned in waters off Hawaii Kai last Sunday.
"The timing was devastating for us," said his wife, Dr. Barbara LeTourneau. "It's never easy but to be so close, to be so close to our reunion and have this happen, it's been painful."
Hennessey was in Hawaii for just a week, and was supposed to meet his wife on Friday, for a short vacation before heading back home to Minneapolis.
"He was a wonderful man," said LeTourneau. "He was solid. Had integrity. He was a wonderful husband. He was the confidant of my heart."
Hennessey was based in Minnesota, and volunteered to join the Hawaii-based 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade in Iraq. The soldiers had only known him for a year, but they quickly
"He was an exceptional officer -- talented," said Lt. Col. Stacey Yamada. "He was my mentor. And friend."
"Most of all, John loved his family," said Mary Carothers. "He would tell stories and talk about his family members with such pride."
LeTourneau said she wanted to have a memorial here before taking him home.
"It was so important for all of us -- that I could know them and hear about his past year, and they could know me and know his other life as a civilian," she said.
Hennessey was remembered as a loving husband and father, and a man who loved Hawaii, and loved the water.