The Kenya Air Force (KAF) today held a requiem mass at Moi Air Base (MAB) in honour of soldiers who lost their lives after an MI 171E helicopter crashed at landing in Ol Tepesi, Kajiado County last week.
Led by the Commander Kenya Air Force Major General Francis Ogolla the KAF fraternity shared their messages of condolences to the families and relatives of the fallen heroes, present at the ceremony.
Addressing the families, Major General Ogolla said it was indeed sad to lose such dedicated soldiers within a nick of time but urged the families to take heart during this sad period.
“I join you all in prayers as we console one another and pray that God gives strength to the families as we mourn and remember our departed loved ones,” said the KAF Commander.
The KAF Commander reiterated that the ill-fated helicopter was in its perfect condition when it left the MAB for a regular training exercise. While indicating that accidents do happen despite highest levels of competencies being deployed, the KAF Commander said that an inquiry into the accident has already commenced to establish what might have caused the crash towards. This, he said, will help establish what can be done in the future to avert such accidents.
“As a person, I have never understood the rationale of timing of someone’s death. It is a complex phenomenon not yet understood by man. Only God knows. When death comes, it separates us from our loved ones without even giving us a chance to even say goodbye. May the almighty God give the nuclear families comfort and peace to overcome this grief,” he said.
The KAF Commander conveyed messages of condolences from H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, Defence Cabinet Secretary, Chief of Defence Forces and Service Commanders among other friends of KAF.
He assured the families of unwavering support during this time of grief. “We will stand with you and offer every support possible. We have a welfare department to address all our concerns. It will hurt us to know there is a family of a fallen hero that is going hungry.” He added.
Bereaved Warrant Officer II Tarcisio Wandera, while speaking on behalf of the families that lost their loved ones said that this is a difficult time seen as a dream that they hope to wake up from to meet their loved ones.
“We received the news and we were shocked. We are trying to get used to the situation at hand. Those who came to break the news were good. There was a counselors at the very first day and they keeps walking with us each day. You have given us a shoulder to lean on as you keep condoling with us. Our request is that even after we lay our loved ones to rest, we still need your assistance as we have young families who depended on the departed loved ones,” she said in her message.
Moi Air Base Commander Brigadier Peter Githinji passed his heartfelt condolences to the families saying the entire KAF family will continue praying for them as well as the colleagues who are still in hospital.
The prayers were conducted by the Kenya Defence Forces chaplaincy accompanied by hymns from the Anglican Church, St Peters Church on the Hills, Our Lady of Assumption Roman Catholic Church – MAB and the Kenya Air Force Band.
Present during the requiem mass were Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa, Senior KAF Officers, Officers, family and relatives of the deceased as well as Service Members.