Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs
HONOLULU — Twenty-four service members who died during campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011 were honored with a Hawaii Medal of Honor at a ceremony at the State Capitol, here, March 28.
Among the honorees was Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman, behavioral health specialist, Department of Psychology, Tripler Army Medical Center, who was killed when his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, Oct. 29, 2011.
Rep. Calvin K.Y. Say, House Speaker for the Hawaii House of Representatives, gave opening remarks for the ceremony and welcomed families and military units as they honored the fallen warriors.
“We truly mourn your loss,” Say said. “Every one of us owes you a great debt, one that we can never fully repay.”
Governor Neil Abercrombie, who presided over the ceremony, spoke of the great character of the warriors.
“Those who we honor and acknowledge today are those who are rich in character,” Abercrombie said.
Accompanying Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commander, Pacific Regional Medical Command and TAMC, were several members of Tripler’s Troop Command, who attended the event in support of Newman.
“I was very, very impressed with the ceremony and really touched by the effort they put in to honoring the Soldiers and their families,” said Sgt. 1st Class Russell Lane, behavioral health noncommissioned officer in charge, PRMC, and Newman’s former NCO. “I was not aware they gave out awards like this.
“Just knowing him the way I did, and that he sacrificed his life for something he believed in, I know that he would have been really proud, surprised and happy to see the amount (of) accolades,” Lane continued.
“It is a great feeling to know that my state and my country honor (our fallen warriors) this way,” Lane added.