The military Friday released the names of the seven Marines who died earlier this week when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed off the Florida Panhandle. They were all members of the 2nd Special Operations Battalion of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command and had been stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The Associated Press identified the late Marines as:
- Capt. Stanford Henry Shaw III of Basking Ridge, New Jersey
- Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders of Camp Lejeune
- Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn of Queens, New York
- Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock of Lake Orion, Michigan
- Staff Sgt. Kerry Michael Kemp of Port Washington, Wisconsin
- Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif of Holland, Michigan
- Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol of Warren, Michigan
The crash also killed four Louisiana National Guard soldiers, none of whom had been named by Friday afternoon. All but two bodies have been found, and the remaining soldiers are presumed dead.
"The decision to suspend is always difficult," Layne Carter, search and rescue mission coordinator, said in a statement to the Pensacola News Journal. "With heavy hearts, we have decided to suspend active search and rescue operations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the members involved in this tragedy."
The Sikorsky Aircraft UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was being used in a training exercise Tuesday when it went down due to heavy fog. The helicopter was found in pieces in the Santa Rosa Sound, according to USA Today, but the black box is still underwater. An investigation into the crash is ongoing and is led by the Army's Combat Readiness Center in Alabama.
"The entire military community mourns the loss of our friends that we consider family," Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis of the Louisiana National Guard told reporters. "We are heartbroken. We are shocked. But we are a team -- standing together for the families and for each other."