Memorial service held for 12 Marines who died in helicopter crash in Hawaii, including 2 from Alabama

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Memorial service for Marines in Hawaii

Memorial service for Marines in Hawaii

(CNN) — Twelve Marines who went missing when the two helicopters carrying them apparently crashed off the coast of Hawaii last week have been declared dead.  A memorial service was held Friday in Hawaii.

Two of the men were from Alabama.

Capt. Steven R. Torbert, of Florence, served as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing stationed on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Torbert, 29, joined the Marine Corps Oct. 14, 2004.  His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, was from Florala, in south central Alabama on the Florida border. He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing stationed on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Turner joined the Marine Corps Aug. 8, 2008. His deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom. Turner’s decorations include the Air Medal with four strike/flight devices, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with bronze star in lieu of second award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the NATO Medal.

The incident

A witness on January 14 saw a fireball in midair; another reported seeing a flare. The U.S. Marine Corps notified the Coast Guard that two CH-53 copters, carrying six men each, were missing. A search ensued involving the Navy, the National Guard, as well as Hawaii fire, police and Ocean Safety.

The Marine Corps on Thursday said it changed the status of the Marines to deceased “after five full days of search and rescue operations.”

Base Hawaii previously identified the other 10 Marines as:

— Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas

— Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia

— Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis

— Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania

— Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, Chaska, Minnesota

— Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina

— Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas

— Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida

— Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts

— Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon

When the search was officially suspended at sunset Tuesday in Hawaii, a total of 130 rescue personnel had covered 40,530 nautical square miles, an area about the size of Florida, in a 115-hour search effort, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Marines and their helicopters were on a training flight when they all appeared to go down. No mayday call was received, just word that something had gone wrong, the Coast Guard said.

Searchers spotted a fire and debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2½ miles north of Haleiwa Beach and later found floating pieces of debris consistent with military aircraft.