On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015, we were honored to present seven permanent memorial plaques aboard the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to the family, friends, and Marines of HMLA-469. It was important to show that three years after the tragic mishap of "Vengeance 97/98" in February 2012, where we lost seven brothers, we still have not forgotten them or their sacrifice.
Many of the current and former squadron members were in attendance, as well as many of the families of the fallen.
We were pleased to have many esteemed guests in attendance. The current HMLA-469 Executive Officer, Maj Vic Abelson, provided remarks and was followed by LtCol Stephen Lightfoot, the former Commanding Officer of HMLA-469 at the time of the mishap. LtCol Lightfoot reminded us that, "the warrior spirit of these Marines and their selfless service exemplify the Marine Corps' core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. We honor our fallen for their greatest sacrifice for this nation."
Following the dedication, family and friends gathered at The Local Pacific Beach for food and beverages and an opportunity to reminisce and reacquaint with each other. This proved to be another example how supportive and tight-knit the Marine aviation community truly is. It was wonderful to see you all there. Semper Fidelis.
We'd like to give a special thanks to HMLA-469 Vengeance, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, LtCol Stephen Lightfoot, Maj Victor Abelson, Maj Christian Pappas, and LT Matthew Drayton for making this event possible.
We Will Never Forget:
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Budrejko, Major Nathan Anderson, Captain Michael Quin, Captain Benjamin Cerniglia, Sergeant Justin Everett, Lance Corporal Cory Little, Lance Corporal Nickoulas Elliott