The bravery and courage of five Marines and 18 soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored in a ceremony at the Hawaii State Capitol March 31.
For their sacrifices, these men were recognized with the Hawaii Medal of Honor. Several family members and friends of the fallen were on hand to accept the award on their behalf. They were also honored with a joint-service color guard, a rifle volley and the playing of taps.
Approximately 150 people witnessed the solemn event, including top military and government officials from across the island, comrades of the fallen service members and grateful citizens.
“These men gave their very best and paid the ultimate price for our country. They have defended democracy afar and this is a small token of our appreciation,” said Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.
The HMOH was created in 2005 by the Legislature’s passing of House Bill 8 and is the first of its kind in the country. It is awarded to the loved ones of individuals killed in action while serving in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom with ties to Hawaii, in an effort to ensure they are not forgotten.
“We have a responsibility to those in uniform who defend the freedom we enjoy,” said Lingle. “Our responsibility is even greater to the families of those who don’t return.”
Among the Marines honored at the ceremony were Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai, Capt. Philip J. Dykeman and Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme. The three were killed in a suicide attack during a meeting of tribal sheiks and community leaders in Karmah, Iraq last year. They were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
“It was truly a wonderful ceremony. The State of Hawaii has set an example for honoring our nation’s heroes,” said Retired Army Col. David Brostrom, who accepted the HMOH on behalf of his son, Army 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, who was killed while defending an outpost in Afghanistan.
“This is an award given on behalf of the people of Hawaii, showing us their gratitude,” said Brostrom. “It definitely helps in getting closure. Every condolence, every hug and every ‘I’m sorry’ helps.”