PHOTOS: Fallen Serviceman Vickers Remembered at MemorialSeptember 3, 2011, 6:46 PM HST · Updated September 5, 5:17 AM 0 Comments
By Madeline M. Ziecker
At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, the MACC hosted a memorial service for fallen Maui serviceman, Kraig Michael Kaleolani Vickers.
Vickers, 36, served the US Navy since 1996 and worked as a Senior Chief Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist attached to a Navy Seal Team Unit since 2005. He was decorated with several awards for his exceptional performance in the service including four Bronze Star Medals with Valor, two Purple Heart Medals, two Global War on Terrorism medals, two Combat Action ribbons, two Navy & Marine Corps Achievement medals and numerous other personal and unit decorations.
Senior Chief Vickers and 30 other service members were killed on August 6 when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in the Wardak province in Afghanistan. Vickers’ older brother, Robert Vickers Jr., said it was to be his last mission before returning home to Oahu with his pregnant wife and three children in May 2012.
Those present today at the memorial to celebrate Kraig Vickers’ life include friends and relatives, many US Servicemen, as well as state and county representatives Mayor Alan Arakawa, Senator Daniel Akaka, and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.
Mary Vickers, Kraig’s mother, began the memorial service for her son with a Christian prayer followed by “I Will Rise” performed by the Grace Bible Worship Team.
The eulogy was read by Kraig’s brother Mark, who also shared anecdotes from his late brother’s life. Mark expressed that Kraig had a rare and special charisma.
“He had a way of always lighting up the room. And that smile.”
Karry Mitchell, a close friend of Kraig’s who served along side him for years, also reminisced about life with Kraig in the service, revealing the character of a brave, spiritual, loving man who died for his country. Mitchell recounts the four things that Kraig Vickers loved most in life: God, family, laughter and his home, Hawaii.
The homily was carried out by Kraig’s father, Robert Vickers Sr., who lead with a passage from the Bible, Psalm 123:3, which reads, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Vickers Sr. went on to share that, even when tension ran high, Kraig was a comedian with boundless energy to brighten any situation.
“One day Kraig came home with a huge smile and a US Navy cup in hand. When we asked him where he got it, he told us that he had enlisted, so they gave him a cup. He then proceeded to pull out another cup like the first. When we asked him about the second one, he replied, ‘When you sign up for extra service, they give you another cup!’ Joining the service was his way of creating a vehicle for his positive energy and his love for adventure.”
Robert Vickers Sr. concluded the memorial service in prayer.
Fire Captain James Brent played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes as pallbearers Robert Vickers Jr., Vance Vickers, John DeBolt, Kerry Mitchell, Jed Anderson and Mark Vickers carried away Vickers’ coffin. The burial was held at at 1 p.m. at Valley Isle Memorial Park in Haiku.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Kraig Vickers is survived by his wife Nani, daughter Makahea, son Kala’i, unborn baby girl, parents Robert and Mary Vickers Sr., brothers Robert Jr. Mark, and Vance, sister Michelle (Charles) Yarborough, and countless other family members, friends, and co-servicemen.