Hearts Break, Flags Fly at Half Staff for Aurora Marine Sara Medina
The city of Aurora, Kane County and the state of Illinois are mourning the death of Cpl. Sara A. Medina, 23, one of the six U.S. Marines who died May 12 in a helicopter crash eight miles north of Charikot, Nepal.
Medina, 23, served as a combat photographer with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan. According to an article on the marines.mil website, Medina enlisted Nov. 29, 2010. She deployed in support of Operation Sahayogi Haat.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Medina family in this tragic time,” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said. “Our son, Ted, is a light-attack helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps, and he knew Dustin Lukasiewicz, who also died in the crash, so this event hits home on many levels for my wife, Sarah, and me. It is hard to find the words, but as parents, we share the Medinas’ sorrow at the loss of such a talented and courageous young woman. I am immensely grateful for the service of Corporal Medina and for the humanitarian work she did during a life that ended far too soon.”
The crashed helicopter was delivering rice and tarps as part of a U.S. relief mission deployed after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, killing at least 117 people and injuring about 2,800, according to media reports.
Also killed in the crash were Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, 29, of Harlan, NE, Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, 31, of Sedgwick, KS, Sgt. Ward M. Johnson, IV, 29, of Seminole, FL, Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, 30, of Riverside, CA, and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, 22, of Maricopa, AZ.
In honor of Medina, Gov. Bruce Rauner has ordered that all United States and Illinois flags fly at half-staff immediately until sunset on the day of Medina’s internment.
“Cpl. Sara Medina made the ultimate sacrifice while assisting the people of Nepal during their time of crisis, and her death is a loss for the state of Illinois and the nation,” Rauner said. “Cpl. Medina’s courage and dedication to serving and protecting others makes her a role model for all of us. She will never be forgotten.”
Medina’s decorations include Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal and a Sea Service Deployment ribbon.
Her photo portfolio can be viewed here.
According to a post on the East Aurora School District 131 website, Medina was a 2010 graduate of East Aurora High School. Her family said she was involved in the East Aurora District 131 Junior ROTC program.
The cause of the helicopter crash has not been determined, and funeral services were pending at the time this article was written.