Hundreds bid farewell to fallen Navy man from Maui

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian and U.S. flags flew at half-staff around the state as funeral services were held for a fallen Naval officer from Maui.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued the order to pay tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer Kraig Vickers, 36. Vickers died August 6 when his unit's helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

Hundreds attended a memorial service for Vickers at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Saturday. Many of them came with memories and stories about the Maui High graduate.

Inside Castle Theater, Vickers' family greeted mourners in front of his flag-draped coffin. His wife, Nani, a former University of Hawaii basketball player, is pregnant with their third child.

"I can't wait for the day to see you again," Nani Vickers said during the service. "You were and always will be my soulmate, my true love, my real life fairytale. I love you Kraig."

"It's difficult for all of us, just for the sudden death," said Vickers' brother, Robert Vickers, Jr. "But with God in her life, she is standing strong. And she is strong with Christ in her life."

"Above all Lord we ask that you minister to Nani and her children," Vickers' mother, Mary, said during the service. "We know times won't be easy without him, they have so many memories."

Vickers was part of an elite Navy explosive ordnance disposal team. After the service, two FA-18 aircraft from the USS Ronald Reagan conducted a fly-by tribute during a memorial ceremony near Haiku.

Vickers' wife is expected to give birth next month. The family was planning to move back to Hawaii from Virginia Beach in May.

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