In Honor of 7 Elite Marine Corps Members Who Died in Tragic Helicopter Crash (PHOTOS)

On Tuesday, March 10, a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the Florida panhandle, killing seven of the most elite Marine Corps soldiers we had in the service. The men were part of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), which was developed less than a decade ago in order to serve difficult tasks in remote locations.

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Basically, these guys were total bad-asses, in the best sense of the word. The loss of their lives has been described as "catastrophic," and as the military released their names on Friday afternoon, we got to know just how special these guys were.

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Not that they would have described themselves that way -- they were just serving their country. Another member of the MARSOC team said of them, "The only reason you find out that these guys were larger-than-life guys is because somebody else told you ... Because they damn sure wouldn't be the ones to tell you."

They may have been humble soldiers, but we are sure proud of them, and want to honor their service and their memory here.

Staff Sergeant Andrew C. Seif

Seif was 26 years old, and had received the prestigious Silver Star for valor just a week before he died. His other awards include the Combat Action ribbon, Navy And Marine Corps Gold Parachutist Jump Wings, and the Good Conduct medal in lieu of second award.

Captain Stanford H. Shaw III

Captain Shaw was 31 years old, and had received numerous awards in his military career, including a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, a National Defense Service Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon (with two stars).

Master Sergeant Thomas Saunders

Saunders was 33 years old, and had been named the top "critical skills operator" for MARSOC in April 2014. His other decorations included the Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy Marine Commendation Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, and five Good Conduct Medals.

Staff Sergeant Marcus S. Bawol

This 26-year-old's list of achievements belies his young age. He held a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a Combat Action and Good Conduct Medal.

Staff Sergeant Trevor P. Blaylock

Baylock was 29 years old, and his decorations included the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a Combat Action ribbon.

Staff Sergeant Liam A. Flynn

This 33-year-old had already achieved three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with Valor, the Bronze Star with Valor, and a Combat Action Ribbon.

Staff Sergeant Kerry Michael Kemp

 

27-year-old Staff Sgt. Kemp's awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor, a Combat Action Ribbon, and the Good Conduct Medal.

We mourn the loss of these Marines. They died far too young and soon, and in what so far appears to be an accident. It's not fair and it's not right, but we can at least remember what incredible men they were to serve our country while they were alive.

Have you ever lost someone in the service? How did you get through it?

 

Images via Beverly & Pack/Flickr & the United States Marine Corps

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