On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, seven US Marines from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina and four Louisiana National Guard soldiers were involved in a terrible helicopter accident during a training exercise near Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The Black Hawk helicopter they were training in got lost in foggy conditions at around 8:30 PM in the Santa Rosa Sound in the Florida panhandle.
Pictured from the top, left to right:
Captain Stanfort H. Shaw III (31) from Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Staff Sergeant Kerry Kemp (27) from Port Washington, Wisconsin
Staff Sergeant Marcus S. Bawol (27) from Warren, Michigan.
Staff Sergeant Trevor P. Blaylock (29) from Lake Orion, Michigan
Pictured bottom, left to right:
Staff Sergeant Liam A. Flynn (33) from Queens, New York
Master Sergeant Thomas A. Saunders (33) Williamsburg, Virginia
Staff Sergeant Andrew Seif (26) from Holland, Michigan (a Silver Star recipient)
The seven Marines were members of the same team who constantly trained and faced danger together as a part of the Marines Special Operations Command (MARSOC) which totals about 2,500 troops.
Four Louisiana National Guard soldiers were also killed:
Chief Warrant Officer George Wayne Griffin (37)
Chief Warrant Officer George David Strother (44)
Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron (40)
Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich (26)
The National Guard soldiers, from Hammond, Louisiana, each did two tours in Iraq and joined in humanitarian missions after the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the 2010 BP oil spill.
This was a senseless accident and a national tragedy. May God be with the families of these good men in their time of sorrow. My prayers go out to you too.