HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Hawaii State Senate and Hawaii State House of Representatives convened in a special joint session to recognize military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The event took place in the House Chambers, here, March 28.

The families of 24 fallen service members received the Hawaii Medal of Honor on behalf of their loved ones.

In 2005, the Legislature passed House Bill 8, which created the Hawaii Medal of Honor. This special medal is awarded on behalf of the people of the State of Hawaii to an individual who was killed in action while serving our country as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Recipients of the medal include members of the armed forces, the Reserves and the Hawaii National Guard, who were residents of the state of Hawaii, attended an educational institution in Hawaii or were stationed in Hawaii.

"The effort to identify those eligible for the medal has taken many months," said Rep. K. Mark Takai. "Working with all the branches of the military, we worked extremely hard to identify each service member who sacrificed their lives."

The primary next of kin and their families were invited to attend.

"In offering the Hawaii Medal of Honor to those who will gather here, in memory of those who have fallen, we recognize that they are part of us … part of our ohana," Takai said. "The medal guarantees that they will never be forgotten. I hope that the children of these heroes will one day appreciate the sacrifices that their fathers and their mothers made on behalf of us all of us."

Hawaii Medal of Honor 2012 Army Recipients

As of December 31, 2011, Hawaii has lost 308 service members with Hawaii ties.

3rd BCT, 25th ID
Pfc. Thomas Allers, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Altmann, 2-27th Inf.
Spc. William Blevins, 2-27th Inf.
Staff Sgt. James Christen, 2-27th Inf.
1st Lt. Dimitri Del Castillo, 2-35th Inf.
Spc. Kevin Hilaman, 2-35th Inf.
Pfc. Joshua Jetton, 2-27th Inf.
Staff Sgt. Nigel Kelly, 3rd BSTB
Pfc. Andrew Krippner, 2-27th Inf.
Staff Sgt. Kristofferson Lorenzo, 2-27th Inf.
Sgt. Jacob Molina, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sgt. Christopher Muniz, 3rd BSTB
Spc. Levi Nuncio, 2-35th Inf. Regt.
Sgt. William Gross Paniagua, 3rd BSTB
Sgt. 1st Class Houston Taylor, 2-27th Inf.
Sgt. Kevin White, 2-35th Inf.
Spc. Ronald Wildrick, 2-35th Inf.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman, Med. Co. A.

8th TSC
Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 706rd EOD Co., 303rd EOD Bn., 45th Sust. Bde.
Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, 552nd MP Co., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde.

Unit Abbreviation Key:
BCT- Brigade Combat Team
Bde.- Brigade
Bn.- Battalion
BSTB- Brigade Special Troops Battalion
Co.- Company
EOD- Explosive Ordnance Disposal
ID- Infantry Division
Inf. Regt.- Infantry Regiment
MP- Military Police
Sust.- Sustainment
TAMC- Tripler Army Medical Center
TSC- Theater Sustainment Command