23 Jul 2005

US military seeks to fly colleagues of American Samoa casualty to territory for funeral

8:22 am on 23 July 2005

The Hawaii Air National Guard is seeking approval to fly colleagues and friends from the state to attend a funeral in American Samoa of a man from the territory who died in Iraq.

Army Reserve Staff Sergeant Frank Tiai was the first American Samoa army reservist to die in combat in Iraq and his funeral is to be held there during the first week of August.

But all Hawaiian Air flights from Honolulu to Pago Pago are full till the end of next month, preventing colleagues of Staff Sergeant Tiai from coming to American Samoa.

The head of the Hawaii Air National Guard, Major General Bob Lee, says he can legitimately step in and he's obtaining approvals from the National Guard Bureau.