The Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in dense fog during a training mission in Florida was carrying seven Marines from Special Operations Command forces based in North Carolina, and four National Guard soldiers from Louisiana. All are presumed dead.
More bad weather Thursday prevented the recovery of bodies and the flight recorder from wreckage 25 feet deep. None of the dead has been identified by the military, though two Marines have been identified by loved ones.
Here are their stories:
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Marcus Bawol from Warren, Michigan, “loved everything about the military,” said his sister, Brandy Peek.
“He couldn’t wait to join. He wanted to fight for our country and was always striving to be the best Marine he could be.”
The 27-year-old graduated in 2006 from Warren Mott High School. Bawol played baseball and football and was a member of the school’s swim team, according to district Superintendent Robert Livernois.
Bawol attended Olivet College for a year, where he was a catcher on the baseball team.
He had planned to marry his fiancée in October, Peek said.
On Thursday, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts ordered flags in the city, just north of Detroit, flown at half-staff.
Kerry Kemp was the proud father of a baby just shy of her first birthday and loved horsing around with his nephews.
“He would wrestle with them. He really got into that, the wrestling and playing. He’d carry them around on his back,” said his sister-in-law, Lora Waraksa.
He was a “proud Marine, a loving husband and most wonderful father,” she said. He also loved golfing and the ocean – he often took his nephews out to hunt for sea shells.
Kemp met his wife, Jenna, at Port Washington High School in Wisconsin, where he was voted “best smile” by his senior class. He graduated in 2005.
He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.