Marine Corps Base Quantico -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter provided the department’s condolences to the loved ones and families of 12 Marines who’ve gone missing since two Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, each with six crew members aboard, are presumed to have crashed off Hawaii’s Oahu Island Jan. 14.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the missing Marines Jan. 19.
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones and family members of 12 Marines missing since an apparent helicopter collision off the coast of Hawaii last week,” Carter said in a DoD news release issued yesterday. “While there is no way to comprehend the grief their families feel today, this we do know: These proud Marines died as they lived, in service to a country they loved and in dedication to a cause greater than themselves.”
Carter said he also wanted to extend his gratitude to the Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine personnel “who have been absolutely unwavering in their efforts to locate and rescue their colleagues.”
He added: “For the men and women who encountered rough seas and heavy swells over the course of these operations, ‘leave no man behind’ was not a simple slogan; it was a solemn oath. We deeply appreciate their determination and the strong support they received from state and local authorities and the people of Hawaii.”
According to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii website, the missing 12 Marines are:
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, of College Station, Texas; Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, of Philadelphia; Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, of St. Louis; Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, of Florence, Alabama; Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, of Chaska, Minnesota; Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, of Gardners, Pennsylvania; Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, of Woodruff, South Carolina; Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, of Florala, Alabama; Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, of Spring, Texas; Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, of Fort Myers, Florida; Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, of Hingham, Massachusetts;and Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, of Aumsville, Oregon.
"The loss of these 12 brave Americans is a tragic reminder of the risks our men and women in uniform take each day in service to our country,” Carter said in the release. “Today and on all days, we remember that it is because of their dedicated efforts that we live in peace and security.”