A U.S. Army pilot killed in action in Afghanistan when his helicopter crashed was buried Monday in Utah.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, was from Keaau, Hawaii; his wife of eight months, McKenzie Norman Fuchigami, is a Utah native.
“He was and is a strong, courageous soldier and loyal husband,” McKenzie Norman Fuchigami posted on Facebook. “Eight months of marriage with him [were] the best months of my life. He taught me so much about love and respect. I’m blessed to have been loved by him so fiercely. We still have eternity, babe, can’t get off that easy.”
Fuchigami and Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle were killed Nov. 20 when their Apache helicopter crashed. They were flying in support of ground troops operating in the Logar Province outside of Kabul, according to Pentagon officials. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas.
Funeral services were held Monday at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel in Brigham City. Fuchigami joined the Army three years ago after serving an LDS mission to Japan.
Fuchigami was buried with full military honors, including a flyover that included four Apache helicopters, at the Brigham City Cemetery. The city fire department hung a large American flag from their truck. The service included a 21 gun salute, the playing of taps and a presentation of flags to Fuchigami’s wife and parents.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert ordered flags to be flown at half-staff from dawn to dusk Monday to honor Fuchigami, whose “sacrifice and dedication will never be forgotten.”