Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 9:31 a.m.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has implemented a new practice at Las Vegas City Council meetings — honoring local members of the U.S. military who have recently died in the service of their country.
"These men made the ultimate sacrifice by defending our country," Goodman said at the beginning of Wednesday's city council meeting.
The mayor recognized Spc. Matthew R. Hennigan, 20, of Las Vegas, a graduate of Silverado High School.
Hennigan, a paratrooper for the Army, was assigned to the 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany. He died July 7 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered earlier in Tangi Valley, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with machine gun fire.
Three of the men, from Nellis Air Force base, were among five airmen who died from a June helicopter crash near Forward Operating Base Jackson in Afghanistan.
1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, Grass Lake, Mich., who was assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, and Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala., who was assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron, both died in the June 9 crash.
Capt David A. Wisniewski, 31, of Moville, Iowa, also assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis, died July 2 of wounds sustained from that crash.
"These men were on a rescue mission when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan," Goodman said.
After the traditional prayer that ceremoniously opens each city council meeting, Goodman called for a moment of silence to honor the four men.
"I hope we never have to do this again," Goodman said.