A funeral procession was held Monday as the body of 27-year-old Isaac John Gayo, a sergeant in the United States Army, was returned home to Los Angeles.
Sgt. Gayo and eight other soldiers were killed on March 29 during a routine training mission along the Kentucky-Tennessee border when two Black Hawk helicopters from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division crashed into each other.
The helicopter crews were practicing a “multi-ship formation” and using night-vision goggles at the time of the deadly collision.
Sky5 was overhead as the procession drove Gayo to his final resting place. The organization Honoring Our Fallen arranged for his remains to go from LAX to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, where his family said their goodbyes.
“He helped everyone,” his sister, Margaritta Gayo, said. “He gives his open hand to everyone.”
his girlfriend, Staff Sgt. Carla Baldoza, said Gayo inspired her.
“He always encouraged me whenever I doubt myself. He was my motivation and everything,” she said.
The 27-year-old immigrated from the Philippines as a computer engineer. He and his sister lived together in Westlake.
“He wants to be a pilot,” Margaritta Gayo said. “My dad dreams to be a pilot and my dad didn’t go through, so my brother continue my dad’s dream.”
Gayo and his sister buried their father just two years ago and now Margaritta Gayo must say goodbye yet again. She said her little brother worked so hard that on the same day that he died, she got to the key to the house that he bought for her in Westlake. She has since moved in.
“I feel he is with him,” she said. “He is in the house, and he is with us.”
At the service, people lined up to pay their respects to a young man who died training to serve his country.
“We just want to thank all the support that you guys (have) given to us. It really means a lot to us.”
The cause of the tragic crash remains under investigation.