Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka (Courtesy: Ricky Nishizuka)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
A Las Vegas man is mourning the loss of his son, a captain in the United States Air Force.
FOX5 spoke to Ricky Nishizuka by phone. He lives in Las Vegas but was in Dover, DE, with his family honoring his late son, Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka, who lost his life in the line of duty when the plane he was flying crashed in Afghanistan on April 27.
"I opened the door, and my jaw dropped when I saw three officers in Air Force uniforms holding a little folder in their hand, and my heart just stopped," said Ricky Nishizuka, describing the day he got the visit no parent of a serviceman wants to receive. The officers were there to tell him his 30-year-old son had died overseas.
The Air Force captain and Hawaii native was just 10 days into his fifth deployment to the Middle East when the plane he was flying crashed, killing him and three other airmen. The Department of Defense is investigating what caused the crash. Initial reports indicate no enemy activity in the area when the plane went down.
The grieving father says Nishizuka died doing what he loved most - flying airplanes. "From when he was five years old, he'd spot planes in the sky and know exactly what kind of plane it was," Ricky Nishizuka said.
Flying is a passion Reid Nishizuka instilled in his younger brother, fellow Air Force Pilot Chad Nishizuka. Now he has the responsibility of seeing that his older brother's body returns safely to his hometown of Kailua, Hawaii. "Since I'm military as well, I'm able to escort him back. I'll be with him the entire time if we need to stop somewhere or transport him. I'll be with him at all times," Chad Nishizuka said.
Chad Nishizuka wasn't the only person inspired by the captain. Friends and family say he was a modern-day Renaissance man, whose only weakness was a good glass of wine.
Ricky Nishizuka says he will never stop being proud of his son's tireless dedication to his country. "He's just overall a great person, and I dearly miss him," he said.
Thursday, Dover Air Force Base hosted a small memorial for the four servicemen killed in the crash. The family will also have a funeral in Hawaii before Ricky Nishizuka returns home to Las Vegas.
Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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