(WKRG) – Nine of the eleven military service members aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off the Florida panhandle have identified by the U.S. military.
According to a press release from the Louisiana National Guard, nine bodies have been retrieved and identified by a medical examiner with the United States military.
The identities are not being released to the public at this time, however family members of the victims have been notified and have begun speaking to the media.
As we’ve previously reported, seven U.S. Marines and four soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard were aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in the Santa Rosa Sound off Navarre Beach on Tuesday night.
- Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif (U.S. Marines, 27-years-old)
- Sgt. Marcus Bawol (U.S. Marines, 27-years-old)
- Kerry Kemp (U.S. Marines, age and rank not yet public)
- Trevor Blaylock (U.S. Marines, age and rank not yet public)
- David Strother (Louisiana National Guard, age and rank not yet public)
Staff Sgt. Seif, 27, was a highly-decorated member of the Marine Corps, according to the Detroit Free Press. On Friday, he was awarded the Silver Star — the military’s third-highest award for valor. He’s credited with risking his life to save a wounded team member while both faced heavy enemy fire during a 2012 deployment to Afghanistan.
Brandy Peek told The Associated Press on Thursday that military officials have identified her brother, Marcus Bawol, from the remains recovered after Tuesday night’s crash.
Bawol originally was from Warren, north of Detroit. Peek says her parents were notified of her brother’s death by officials with the Marines. She says her brother “loved everything about the military” and “wanted to fight” for his country.
Lora Waraksa, of Port Washington, says her brother-in-law, Marine Kerry Kemp, died in the crash. Waraksa says his remains have been recovered and her sister, Jenna Kemp, was notified by the Marines of his death overnight.
Waraksa says her brother-in-law was a “proud Marine, a loving husband and most wonderful father.” She says her sister and Kemp have a child about 1 year old. Waraksa says Kemp and her sister met at Port Washington High School. She says he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.