Family and friends remember fallen service member

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Rancho High School graduate was killed along with another service member this week after their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Friday night, his family and friends talk about his bravery and courage.

Kirk Fuchigami, who is from Hawaii, got married eight months ago. We’re told he was deployed on October 25th. He and David Knadle are the latest service members killed in war.

Lt. Col. Mike Richmond plans to add Fuchigami’s name to Rancho High School’s Wall of Honor.  It’s a list of soldiers who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.

Richmond was Fuchigami’s instructor for four years.

“It’s just really a sinking, heartbreaking feeling that you just can’t believe what you’re reading,” said Richmond. “He was just one of those really good cadets who you love to have in the program because he’s a good example for everyone else.”

Fuchigami and Knadle were providing security for troops on the ground in eastern Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed.

“Ever since I’ve known him, he wanted to be a pilot and specifically for Apache helicopters like he loved Apache’s and so he would talk about when I’m older, I’m going to fly,” said Fuchigami’s friend Tanner Nelson.

“He is just a great guy,” said Melissa Norman — Fuchigami’s sister-in-law. “He died doing what he loved. He was very patriotic to the United States and I know he was a determined soldier.”

Thursday night, President Trump saluted the soldiers, while the First Lady stood with her hand over her heart for the dignified transfer of remains.

Initial indications are that the helicopter was not brought down by enemy fire. A memorial fund has been set up for Fuchigami’s family. You can click HERE for more information.

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