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Marine pilot with ties to Dawsonville killed delivering disaster aid
6 Marine and wife pic
Sgt. Mark Johnson, pictured with his wife, Haley Vaughters Johnson, was killed while delivering military aid to Nepal. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

A candlelight vigil and prayer service was held Sunday at Juno Baptist Church in memory of U.S. Marine Mark Johnson, one of eight soldiers killed when their helicopter crashed on a relief mission in Nepal.

The group was delivering disaster aid to areas affected by the 7.8 magnitude-earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 and killed more than 8,200 people.

A South Carolina native, Sgt. Johnson was married to Haley Vaughters Johnson of Dawsonville. The couple has two young sons. He was based at Camp Pendleton in California, where the family lives.

"My heart is heavy ... in knowing that we can't be in California for Haley, to wrap her up and help her through this all," said Angela Harben, who organized Sunday night's service.

Haley Johnson is a Dawson County High School graduate that attended the University of North Georgia.

The UH-1 "Huey" went missing May 12 while delivering rice and tarps to the area worst hit by that day's quake.

"The incident occurred near Charikot, Nepal, while the aircraft was conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in support of the recent Nepal earthquakes," Army Maj. David Eastburn, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement.

Wreckage from the helicopter was found Friday after an exhaustive search in the mountains of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital.

U.S. Marines Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz of Nebraska, Capt. Christopher L. Norgren of Kansas, Sgt. Eric M. Seaman of California, Cpl. Sara A. Medina of Illinois and Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug of Arizona were also killed in the crash, according to a statement from the U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan.

Two Nepalese soldiers also died in the crash.

The cause of the crash has not been determined.

A charity collection has been set up at to benefit the Johnson family.