A Decade of Remembrance: The Indy 08 Memorial

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexis Pentzer
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

The Independence “Indy” 08 memorial is held every year at the Independence Theater on April 27. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the memorial as family and friends of those lost gathered to mourn and celebrate the lives of our fallen Airmen on flight Indy 08.

U.S. Air Force members Capt. Reid Nishizuka, Capt. Brandon Cyr, Staff Sgt. Richard Dickson, and Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin, lost their lives when their MC-12 Liberty crashed during a mission in Afghanistan on April 27, 2013.

"It makes all the difference to know that the crew is always remembered and the families are supported,” said Karyn Hatakeyama, Capt. Nishizuka’s mother. "It means everything to me.”

In 2015, the base theater was dedicated and renamed Independence Theater to honor the four fallen Airmen of Indy 08.

"Everybody is in it [the military] for the same reason, to protect our country,” said Ricky Nishizuka, Capt. Nishizuka’s father. "We appreciate the Air Force acknowledging that it isn't a job everyone can do and it's a job that may cost your life."

The Indy 08 crew contributed to Project Legacy during the Afghanistan war. The conflict in Afghanistan lasted for 20 years from 2001 to 2021 and many efforts went into Operation Liberty to protect thousands of Americans and coalition forces through direct support to the operations during Operation Enduring Freedom.

“They weren't just Airmen,” said Erron Pool, SSgt Dickson’s sister. "They were fathers, sons and brothers and [the feelings of their passing] never goes away. Just because it's been ten years doesn't mean we don't miss them everyday.”

Holding the memorial every year is important, not only to the families, but to the Air Force community as a whole. It shows that no matter what happens, we never forget those who pay the ultimate price.