While east coasters scrambled to prepare for an enormous blizzard, Marines stationed in sunny Hawaii attended a solemn memorial service honoring the 12 missing Marines who vanished after a helicopter crash. They have since been declared dead by the Marine Corps, causing an outcry of grief in the community.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a statement that the service’s number one priority is helping the families and colleagues of the 12 deceased recover from this tragedy.
“The loss of any Marine is a tragedy,” Neller said. “As the squadron and families deal with this loss, I want you to know that help is available as we transition through our sadness and grief. We all know that what we do as Marines is dangerous.”
He also extended thanks to the Marines and Coast Guardsmen that led a joint effort to search the seas for signs of survivors.
The Marines who perished in the helicopter collision were:
— Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
— Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia.
— Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis.
— 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.
“The men and women in our ranks today, much like the generations of Marines before, are absolutely committed to each other, to our Corps, our country, and our mission,” Neller said. “They are courageous, determined, and focused on success. These 12 Marines embodied those same qualities and traits. We will miss them, but we will never forget them.”
The entire memorial service was livestreamed on Youtube.