Families, friends, and fellow service members gathered at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe for a private service to remember the fallen.
“In life, we don’t know why horrible things happen, but we do know we can count on you to always be by our side through every situation,” said Lt. Travis Gardner, chaplain, Marine Aircraft Group 24.
They died when their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters went down in waters off Haleiwa, in the late evening hours on Thursday, Jan. 14. Officials said they were conducting a routine training mission to hone their skills.
After five full days of searching, multi-agency rescue crews found no signs of survivors. The search was called off on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Then on Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Marine Corps officially changed their status from “missing” to “deceased.” Families were personally notified of the change.
On Friday, 12 flak jam forets, helmets, rifles, boots, and lei draped over a cross represented each Marine who was taken;
“They were in the prime of their life, full of joy and hope only to be taken from us in an instant,” said Lt. Col. Eric Purcell, commanding officer, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463.
Four were pilots, eight were enlisted crew members — sons, brothers, friends, committed to to their country.
Broke down at the podium while saying a final farewell to the Marine aviators now flying above the sky.
“On that day, and it seemed all the next, the weather seemed fitting. Rain, mist, even the waves seemed to express the turmoil in all of our hearts,” said “But today too is a beautiful day, and the weather is fitting that we say goodbye.”
The public was able to observe their own moment of silence at 11 am for
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.
Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, Chaska, Minnesota.
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.
Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.
Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.
Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.
Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.
Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.
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