Late Thursday night, two CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters carrying four Marine officers and eight enlisted Marines crashed off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Although it is still being investigated, reports say the two helicopters collided. With a high-surf warning, it has been very difficult to conduct a search.
The 12 Marines, who were on board the two helicopters are as follows:
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell – Campbell, 41, has a two daughters and a wife. Campbell is from College Station, Texas. He attended Klein High School, followed by Texas A&M, where he initially met his wife. He became a Marine Corps Aviator after accepting his commission at graduation.
Cpl. Matthew R. Drown – Drown, 23, enlisted in the Marines directly out of high school. He is from Spring, Texas, and was planning on re-enlisting, according to his sister-in-law. His family remains hopeful as they anxiously await word of the Marines’ whereabouts.
Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart – Hart, 21, from Aumsville, Oregon, just married his high school sweetheart six months ago. He enjoyed playing football, baseball, and running track in high school, which he graduated from in 2012. Christina Brown, a family friend said he enjoyed nature, wake boarding, and boating. Brown also stated that Hart is a very energetic and upbeat person.
Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando – Orlando, 23, graduated from a high school in Hingham, Massachusetts. Orlando is a flight crew chief in the Marines. The Massachusetts State Police released a statement on Saturday that Orlando’s family is thankful for everyone’s love and prayers, as well as the hard work of all those who are helping in the search efforts. Prior to Orlando joining the Marines, he was a counselor at a surf camp in Massachusetts and is considered a “camp legend,” said the South Shore Surf Camp in a Facebook post.
“He is mentally and physically strong with the ocean experience and skills needed to survive anything Mother Nature can throw at him.”
Capt. Brian T. Kennedy – Kennedy is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is 31-years-old. According to the Associates Press, Kennedy’s father declined to comment further after stating that Kennedy was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and since graduating from the Naval Academy, he has been on an assignment. William Kennedy stated, “We hope they’re successful.”
Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas – Jardas is 22-years-old and is from Fort Myers, Florida. The Jardas family did not have a statement at this point, however, his sister, Haely Jardas, made a statement on Facebook.
“My little brother was lost doing what he loved. He has always been and will always be my most important person.”
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller – Schoeller, from Gardners, Pennslyvania, is 25-years-old.
Capt. Kevin T. Roche – Roche, 30, is from St. Louis and is a Pilot. Roche’s family thanked everyone assisting in the search and believes that everything is being done to bring the Marines home safely.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina – Semolina is from Chaska, Minnesota, and is 24-years-old. His uncle, Ryan Bachand, stated that Semolina planned on becoming a registered nurse after his time was up in the Marines.
“He was waiting to hear from a school he had applied to and was hoping to hear next week.”
The family remains hopeful, however, they realize that as time goes by, chances of them being found alive has dimmed. A GoFundMe Page has been set up so that Semolina’s parents can travel to Hawaii where their son went missing and has already raised more than the $10,000 in just one day.
Capt. Steven R. Torbert – Torbert, 29, is from Florence, Alabama. Torbert has a wife and a baby. The family’s pastor asked for prayers for Torbert’s family on his Twitter page.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler – Sempler, 22, is from Woodruff, South Carolina, and according to his Facebook page, he is a CH-53E Crew Chief.
Sgt. William J. Turner – Turner is from Florala, Alabama, and is 25-years-old. The Andalusia Star-News reports that Turner’s family ask for privacy as they wait for answers.
The Marine Corps Times also reports that search crews did find a life raft, but there wasn’t anyone on board. The search continues and updates will be provided as they come.
[Photo by Cpl. Ricky S. Gomez/U.S. Marine Corps via AP Images]