Last month, 12 Marines died when two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters collided during training off of Waimea Bay in Hawaii. Recovery operations are still ongoing. Yesterday, Marines from Marine Corps Base Hawaii ran in the Great Aloha Run to honor the memories of their fallen comrades.
Every year on Presidents Day, the Great Aloha Run takes place in Honolulu, Hawaii, to benefit Carole Kai Charities. The race ends at Aloha Stadium, and is the second largest road race in Hawaii. But the race is notable for the Sounds of Freedom event. Military units from all branches of service run in formation, calling cadence. Thousands of service members are estimated to participate each year. This year, the Hawaii Marines ran for Pegasus, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463. At the end of the race, Kaiser Permanente presented Sgt. Maj. Paul McKenna and Lt. Gen. John Toolan, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific sergeant major and commander, respectively, with an $8,000 check to be presented to the families of the fallen Marines. The Marines ran the race while carrying Marine Corps flags, and afterwards they held a moment of silence in remembrance before closing the day with the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band playing the Marine Corps hymn.