GDSF Members Aboard Fallen Helicopter off Miyako Island Remembered; Memorial Ceremony Held on Nearby Irabu Island in Okinawa Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hayato Higa, commanding officer of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Miyako Guard, prays for the victims of a helicopter crash accident a year ago on Irabu Island, Okinawa Prefecture, at 1:35 p.m. Saturday.

A one-year anniversary memorial ceremony for the victims of a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter crash off Miyako Island was held on nearby Irabu Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Saturday.

The UH60JA multi-purpose helicopter crashed in April last year, killing all 10 GSDF members on board.

The memorial ceremony was held in front of a flower stand set up on Irabu Island, overlooking the crash site.

About 30 people, including bereaved family members of the GSDF members and high-ranking officers of the GSDF, attended the ceremony and prayed for the victims who died in the line of duty.

The attendees included family members of Masahito Iyota, former commanding officer of the GSDF Miyako Guard who died in the accident, and his successor, Hayato Higa.

After a moment of silence, each of the attendees placed flowers on the stand.

Yukikazu Kokuba, 82, president of the Okinawa Defense Association, said, “The accident occurred during geographical research in preparation for disasters or emergencies. I will never forget their passion to fulfill their mission.”