Marine Corps officials have identified the four officers and eight enlisted Marines missing after their two CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii's Oahu late Thursday night.
Search efforts for the two heavy-lift helicopters and the 12 men aboard continue to be hampered by a high-surf warning. Rescuers battled waves up to 30 feet Saturday, which dispersed debris and complicated the search.
"It makes finding things incredibly difficult," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.
Initial reports from the Coast Guard indicated that the helicopters had collided, but Marine officials say the incident remains under investigation.
The Marines and the aircraft are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 based out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. They 12 missing men have been identified as follows.
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell
Campbell, 41, of College Station, Texas, has a wife and four kids, Houston's KHOU reported. His mom, Donna McGrew, said in an emailed statement to the station that, “This is not about us. This is about the families that are suffering and about all the sacrifices that our military members and their families make on a daily basis.”
Campbell attended Klein High School about 30 miles northwest of Houston before enrolling at Texas A&M, where he met his wife. He accepted his commission at his graduation and became a Marine Corps aviator.
Cpl. Matthew R. Drown
Drown, 23, of Spring, Texas, graduated from high school in 2011 and immediately enlisted in the Marines. He rose to the rank of corporal and was due to get out in November, but his sister-in-law told KHOU he was planning to re-enlist.
In an emailed statement, Drown's family said they anxiously await word of the corporal's whereabouts.
“We appreciate your concern for our family and respect for our privacy as we deal with this very difficult situation. Our family would like everyone to know this is not about us. This is about all the sacrifices our military members and their families make on a daily basis. We have to remain hopeful, for Matt's sake and for the lives of the 11 other Marines.”
Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart
Hart, 21, of Aumsville, Oregon, married his high school sweetheart, Hannah, six months ago, the Oregonian reported. Hart graduated from high school in 2012 where he played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball, according to the paper.
Family friend Christina Brown described Hart as upbeat and energetic and said he enjoys nature, boating and wakeboarding.
Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas
Jardas, 22, is from Fort Myers, Florida. A spokesman for the Jardas family declined to comment Saturday, according to the News Press.
Capt. Brian T. Kennedy
Kennedy, 31, is from Philadelphia.
Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando
Orlando, 23, is a flight crew chief and a 2010 high school graduate from Hingham, Massachusetts, outside Boston.
Orlando's family said in a statement released Saturday by the Massachusetts State Police that they are thankful to everyone for their love, concern and prayers. The are monitoring the search effort and are thankful for the hard work of search and rescue crews.
Before Orlando joined the Marines, 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 post states.
Capt. Kevin T. Roche
Roche, 30, of St. Louis, is a CH-53E pilot. Two days before the accident, Roche detailed some of the training they were conducting in the Pacific aboard the heavy-lift helicopter.
They had teamed with soldiers from the Army's 25th Infantry Division for a visit, board and seizure exercise. The soldiers fast-roped out of the helicopter and they landed aboard an Army ship off Hawaii's coast.
Roche's family praised rescuers for trying to find the Marines aboard the helicopters.
"We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines 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.
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller
Schoeller, 25, from Gardners, Pennsylvania, is a CH-53E crew chief who was recently married, PennLive reported.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina
Semolina, 24, of Chaska, Minnesota, was hoping to become a registered nurse when he got out of the Marine Corps, said his uncle, Ryan Bachand,
"He was waiting to hear from a school he had applied to and was hoping to hear next week," Bachand said.
Semolina is an impressive young man, respectful and positive, he said, and had been a good high school football player.
The family remains hopeful that he and the other missing Marines will be found alive, but as hopes have dimmed, Bachand 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.
A GoFundMe page to raise money to send Semolina's parents to Hawaii to be near where Semolina went missing raised more than $10,000 from 232 people in one day.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler
Sempler, 22, from Woodruff, South Carolina, is a CH-53E crew chief, according to his Facebook page.
Capt. Steven R. Torbert
Torbert, 29, from Florence, Alabama, is married and has a baby, according to a social media post by his family's pastor.
Sgt. William J. Turner
Turner, 25, is from Florala, Alabama.
Family members asked for privacy as they await news of the search, the Andalusia Star-News reported, but said Turner and his wife, Elizabeth, are stationed in Hawaii. The couple married in April 2015, according to their social media pages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gina Harkins is the editor of Marine Corps Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.