Military members and families gathered at Marine Corp Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Friday to pay tribute to the 12 U.S. Marines aboard two helicopters that crashed off the coast of Hawaii.
The status of the missing Marines changed to deceased on Wednesday, after five days of searching for them. The Marine Corps says casualty assistance calls officers personally notified each family of the change.
The search began Jan. 14 when a civilian on a beach reported seeing the helicopters flying and then a fireball.
The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.
The search ended Tuesday after the around-the-clock multi-agency effort failed to locate any sign of the service members.
The crew had all earned various decorations and were members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
"The men and women in our ranks today, much like the generations of Marines before, are absolutely committed to each other, to our Corps, our country, and our mission. They are courageous, determined, and focused on success," Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a statement. "These twelve Marines embodied those same qualities and traits. We will miss them, but we will never forget them."
The Marines were:
CAPT. KEVIN ROCHE, 30, ST. LOUIS
Roche joined the Marine Corps Dec. 19, 2005, and his deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Marine Corps. He was a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot.
Roche's family praised rescuers for trying to find him and the others. His immediate family members were preparing to travel to Hawaii when the search was suspended, said his brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel in St. Louis.
SGT. ADAM C. SCHOELLER, 25, GARDNERS, PENNSYLVANIA
Relatives say Schoeller and his wife, Samantha Wickel-Schoeller, were married July 4. Schoeller's Facebook page says he attended Boiling Springs High School.
"We value all of the thoughts and prayers offered up on our behalf during this very difficult time," said a statement released through a family friend.
The Marine Corps said he joined March 23, 2008, and his deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief.
CPL. CHRISTOPHER ORLANDO, 23, HINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS
Orlando's family said they are thankful for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers.
His family said in a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police that they were monitoring the search and are thankful for rescuers' hard work.
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.
Orlando joined the Marine Corps Aug. 9, 2012, and was a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief, the Marine Corps 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 Marine.
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 had been living with his wife, Kelli, and their children near the Marine 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 military members and their families make on a daily basis."
He joined the Marine Corps Sept. 30, 1999, and served as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot, according to the Marine Corps.
CAPT. BRIAN T. KENNEDY, 31, PHILADELPHIA
The Marine Corps said Kennedy joined July 1, 2003. He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot.
Kennedy's father had hoped the search would be successful for his son, who was 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.
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.
He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot, according to the Marine Corps. He joined the Marine Corps Oct. 14, 2004.
SGT. DILLON J. SEMOLINA, 24, OF CHASKA, MINNESOTA
Semolina's uncle said his nephew wanted to be a nurse when he left the Marines.
"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 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.
The Marine Corps said he joined Sept. 1, 2011, and served as a CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief.
SGT. JEFFREY A. SEMPLER, 22, WOODRUFF, SOUTH CAROLINA
Sempler's hometown held a prayer vigil for the Marine 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.
He joined the Marine Corps Aug. 12, 2010, and served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief, the Marine Corps said.
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 Marines as soon as he graduated, school counselor Joea McNeil said. Everyone knew Turner by his middle name of Josh, she said.
"He'd just always wanted to be a Marine, and he was a good candidate," said McNeil, who sat in on Turner's interview with a military 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.
His deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom and he served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief, according to the Marine Corps.
CPL. MATTHEW R. DROWN, 23, SPRING, TEXAS
Drown joined the Marines shortly after graduating from a suburban Houston high school in 2011.
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.
His speech and debate teacher, Angie Richard, recalled him as "very happy, always smiling" and showing a confidence in public speaking "unusual among high school kids."
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."
He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief, the Marine Corps said.
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.
The Miss D.C. Organization said in a statement that its thoughts and prayers are with Haely Jardas and her family. Haely Jardas flew home to Florida on Saturday to be with her family, Miss D.C. Executive Director Tricia Lloyd said.
Thomas Jardas joined the Marine Corps May 6, 2011. He served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief, the Marine Corps said.
LANCE CPL. TY L. HART, 21, AUMSVILLE, OREGON
Hart lived 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.
He joined the Marine Corps Aug. 8, 2012, and served as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.