‘Something bigger than himself’: friends, family and fellow pilots remember fallen Army pilot

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — A fallen soldier was laid to rest Monday.

The funeral for U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Takeshi Fuchigami Jr. took place Monday morning in Brigham City. Fuchigami died in Afghanistan Nov. 20 after the helicopter he was piloting crashed while providing security for troops on the ground.

Speaking on behalf of the family, his brother-in-law said the outpouring of support they've received has been overwhelming.

"From people they don't even know, they've come out to line the streets, wave flags and pay their respects for Takeshi," his brother-in-law and fellow pilot CW3 Nathan Salisbury said. "We can't say thank you enough."

Fuchigami was from Hawaii, but his final resting place is in Box Elder County, where his wife is from.

Friends and fellow pilots took part in the rifle volley and Apache helicopter flyover — the very same aircraft Fuchigami flew in his final mission. Some came from as far as Alabama, where Fuchigami trained as a pilot.

"It's not something that you ever wish to be a part of, but I'm very grateful that I was able to do something to honor Kirk and to give back for what he gave to us," said CW2 Tyson Roberts, a friend and fellow pilot. "He loved to serve."

They say he was like family — a man who loved his wife, his country and flying.

"He just always wanted to do something bigger than himself," Salisbury said. "Supporting the troops on the ground was his dream."

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