Families confirmed identities of the missing involved in a helicopter collision over on Thursday. All four of the life rafts have been located with no sign of the Marines.
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for 12 who were reportedly on board two CH-53 helicopters when the aircrafts collided at 3 a.m. Thursday. The families of seven M released statements providing identities of the supposed helicopter passengers.
CAPT. KEVIN ROCHE, 30, OF ST. LOUIS
Roche’s family praised rescuers for trying to find him and the others.
“We believe the and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow home safely, and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue,” said a family statement distributed by brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel in St. Louis.
LANCE CPL. TY L. HART, 21, OF AUMSVILLE, OREGON
Hart lives on base in Hawaii with his wife, the Oregonian newspaper reported. Family friend Christina Brown described Hart as upbeat and energetic and said he enjoys nature, boating and wakeboarding.
Hart’s former high school football coach and teacher, Alan Kirby, told the newspaper that Hart was a positive kid who always had a smile on his face and called him a quick learner on the gridiron.
SGT. DILLON J. SEMOLINA, 24, OF CHASKA, MINNESOTA
Semolina’s uncle said his nephew wanted to be a nurse when he left the .
“He was waiting to hear from a school he had applied to and was hoping to hear next week,” Ryan Bachand said. Semolina was an impressive young man, respectful and positive, Bachand said. He had been a good football player at Delano, Minnesota, high school.
The family hopes he and the others will be found alive, Bachand said. The uncle said he would cherish memories of spending time with Semolina when Bachand was a fishing guide in northern Minnesota. “I was able to teach him how to fish,” he said.
MAJ. SHAWN M. CAMPBELL, 41, COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS
Campbell’s mother, Donna McGrew, described the father of four as a “great dad whose kids love him, and he’s wonderful husband.” He attended high school in suburban Houston and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in microbiology.
In a family statement, McGrew said her son accepted a commission after graduation and became a career . Campbell served three tours in Middle East, the last in Iraq, she told the Houston Chronicle. He returned to the U.S.to be a flying instructor at Pensacola, Florida, and had transferred to Hawaii about two years ago.
He, his wife, Kelli, and their children have been living near the base at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. “My husband and I want everyone to know that this is not about us,” McGrew said in the statement. “This is about the families that are suffering, and about all the sacrifices that our members and their families make on a daily basis.”
CPL. MATTHEW R. DROWN, 23, SPRING, TEXAS
Drown joined the shortly after graduating from a suburban Houston high school in 2011. His family said in a statement that they are remaining hopeful for the rescue of the 12 .
Drown’s former high school English teacher, Yvette Stuckey, told the Houston Chronicle that she remembered Drown as a shy freshman but that he came out of his shell as he grew, eventually participating in debate tournaments. Stuckey said she was “shocked but so excited” when Drown told her his plans to enlist after graduation, adding that he was “really excited to follow and serve his country.”
Drown’s brother Shawn emailed KPRC saying, “He loved his family, friends and everyone he had the chance to meet. He never met a stranger and was always willing to help anyone he could. We are still hoping for his safe return home.”
CAPT. STEVEN R. TORBERT, 29, FLORENCE, ALABAMA
Torbert grew up in Highland Baptist Church, and his relatives remain members there. A pastor says the church is praying for Torbert.
SGT. WILLIAM TURNER, 25, FLORALA, ALABAMA
Friends and acquaintances say Turner grew up in the country along the Alabama-Florida line. A good student and baseball player at Florala High School, Turner joined the as soon as he graduated in 2009, school counselor Joea McNeil said. Everyone knew Turner by his middle name of Josh, she said.
“He’d just always wanted to be a , and he was a good candidate,” said McNeil, who sat in on Turner’s interview with a recruiter at school. Gay Burleson, whose son grew up with Turner, said he married in April 2015 while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Some of Turner’s family from Alabama joined his wife in Hawaii to monitor progress of the search, Burleson said. “We’re still just in shock about it,” Burleson said.
CAPT. BRIAN T. KENNEDY, 31, PHILADELPHIA
Kennedy’s father said he hopes the search is successful for his son, who is from suburban Philadelphia. “This is where he grew up and went to high school, but since he graduated from the Naval Academy, he’s been on assignment,” said William Kennedy, of Malvern, Pennsylvania.
SGT. ADAM C. SCHOELLER, 25, GARDNERS, PENNSYLVANIA
Schoeller’s family members say they are remaining optimistic. A statement released through a family friend said that “there are thousands praying for a positive outcome” for the . “We value all of the thoughts and prayers offered up on our behalf during this very difficult time.”
Relatives say Schoeller and his wife, Samantha Wickel-Schoeller, were married on July 4. Schoeller’s Facebook page says he attended Boiling Springs High School.
CPL. THOMAS J. JARDAS, 22, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
Jardas is the younger brother of the reigning Miss District of Columbia, Haely Jardas, who competed in last year’s Miss America pageant.
SGT. JEFFREY A. SEMPLER, 22, WOODRUFF, SOUTH CAROLINA
Sempler’s hometown held a prayer vigil for the and his family Monday. His grandparents Ralph and Sandy Beauvier thanked the community for its support, the Herald-Journal reported. Sempler enjoyed reading and driving Ford Mustangs, Ralph Beauvier said. “I wish I could tell the whole world what a great kid he was,” Ralph Beauvier said. “I am very proud of him.”
Sempler graduated from Woodruff High School in 2011, and teachers remembered him as quiet and thoughtful, but with a quick wit, principal Aaron Fulmer said in a statement released to WHNS-TV in Greenville, South Carolina. “He was loved by the community; he was just a really great person,” Fulmer said.
CPL. CHRISTOPHER ORLANDO, 23, OF HINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS
Orlando’s family said they are thankful for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers.
Orlando is a flight crew chief and a 2010 high school graduate from Hingham, outside Boston. His family said in a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police that they are monitoring the search and are thankful for rescuers’ hard work.
Before Orlando joined the , he was a counselor at a surf camp in Hull, Massachusetts, and is a “camp legend,” the South Shore Surf Camp said 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.”
The Corps released a statement confirming the search:
“Marine Corps Forces Pacific are currently working with the U.S. Coast Guard District 14 in ongoing search and rescue operations for two Marine CH-53E helicopters that were conducting a training flight off the coast of Oahu. The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
We can confirm there are 12 Marines currently unaccounted for as a result of this incident, and officials will provide more details as they become available”, Maj. Christian Devine announced.
The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Honolulu Emergency Services, and the Honolulu Fire Department joined together to look for survivors 7 miles offshore as the weather worsened. “Swells reached 16 feet, surf rose to 40 feet and visibility extended to only one mile”, the Coast Guard said.
The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, MAG 24, from Marine Corps Base Hawaii.