A military helicopter carrying seven US Marines and four National Guard soldiers on board crashed while conducting a training mission in Florida. According to reports, the men were among others going through a seven-day coarse, which consisted of performing various search and rescue operations.
Apparently, fog was extremely dense but as stated by a military spokesperson, to be efficient at the job military personnel perform training exercises in all types of conditions. There was a second helicopter nearby as part of training, which was not involved in the crash. That helicopter returned to its base about 40 miles away without incident.
The US Marines were with North Carolina-based Special Operations Command forces while the National Guard soldiers were stationed out of Louisiana. While two Marines have already been identified by family members the bodies of the other victims have not yet been recovered.
Experts believe the remaining bodies, as well as the wreckage and flight recorder are roughly 25 feet in water. Efforts are underway to get to the wreckage but fog is once again making recovery operations difficult. Because of this, there is a chance that recovery work will be postponed until tomorrow.
One Marine who passed away in the accident was Marcus Bawol of Michigan. As stated by his sister Brandy Peck, he loved being a Marine and everything pertaining to the military. He was excited to join and was eager to fight for his country. In everything he did, he worked hard to be the best he could possibly be.
Bawol was 27-years-old and a 2006 graduate from Warren Mott High School. There, he was a member of the school’s football, baseball, and swim team. He completed one year of college at Olivet and held the catcher position for the baseball team. He also had plans to marry his finance this coming October. As imagined, everyone is devastated.
The second deceased Marine is Kerry Kemp who was stationed in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune. Kemp had a daughter who was getting close to turning one and he had an extremely close relationship with his family, especially his nephews who constantly horsed around with.
As stated by his sister-in-law, Lora Waraksa, Kemp was proud to be a US Marine but he was also a loving and devoted husband and father. He also enjoyed spending time on the golf course and would frequently take his nephews to the ocean where they would collect seashells.
Kemp and his wife Jenna met in Wisconsin at Port Washington High School. During his senior year before graduating in 2005, he was voted as having the best smile.
Currently, the US Army Combat Readiness Center out of Fort Rucker is being probed about the helicopter crash and President Obama vowed the investigation would be thorough.