On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 7 Marines from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and 4 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard, died in a helicopter crash during a training exercise off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. The UH-60 Black Hawk, out of Eglin Air Force Base, was one of two involved in the exercise, which was plagued by heavy fog and very limited visibility. 

All of the Marines involved in the crash were part of 2nd Special Operations Battalion. They were: 
  • Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol, 27, of Warren, Michigan
  • Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock, 29, of Lake Orion, Michigan
  • Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn, 33, of Queens, New York
  • Staff Sgt. Kerry Michael Kemp, 27, of Port Washington, Wisconsin
  • Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders, 33, of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif, 26, of Holland, Michigan* 
  • Capt. Stanford Henry Shaw III, 31, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey

The Army has not released the names of the 4 soldiers; we will update this when we receive the full list of names from the US Army.

*Seif had received the Silver Star, the Marine Corps third highest medal for valor, four days before the crash.


The members of the MarineParents.com community, volunteers, staff, and directors, offer our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of these Marines, as well as to the MARSOC and Marine Corps communities as a whole, during this difficult time. This is a stark reminder of the sacrifices made and dangers faced by our military personnel on a daily basis as they defend our nation and our freedom around the world. While they may no longer be here in body, the spirit and memory of these American heroes will live on in all those who knew and loved them.

Place to Connect & Share®


MarineParents.com, Inc. is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) public charity, founded on January 21, 2003, to provide support, information, and services to Marines and their family members, and to create opportunities for individuals to support our troops. In over 12 years of service, Marine Parents has made a huge impact in support of Marines, military personnel, and their family members.

Marine family members are encouraged to support one another through activities and networking provided by the organization and guided by trained volunteers. Outreach to injured troops is volunteer-centered with in-person contact. Additional troop-support centered programs are designed to actively engage individuals and communities across the United States while maintaining the privacy of military personnel. All services are offered free to family members, Marines, and military personnel.

In 12 years of service, MarineParents.com has:
  • Invested over $6 million delivering direct support to Marines, their families and other military personnel.
  • Provided information and a Place to Connect & Share® to more than 311,000 family members through a network of communities and educational websites.
  • Collected materials and shipped over 39,000 care packages to Marines and military personnel in combat zones.
  • Involved thousands of Americans in sending over 93,000 cards and letters to injured troops.
  • Served over 40,000 meals to injured troops and their families at military medical facilities on the east and west coasts.
  • Planned and carried out recreational events for hundreds of injured troops and their families.
  • Delivered materials and resources to aid in the recovery process to hundreds of family members of injured troops.
  • Provided support and networking to hundreds of Gold Star families.
Tracy Della Vecchia, Founder and Executive Director, leads the operations from the corporate office in Columbia, Missouri with staff, volunteers, and a volunteer Board of Directors. In addition to the moderated, OPSEC-compliant social media groups, chat rooms, and informative websites, several outreach programs to support Marines and families before, during and after the Marine Corps are provided by the organization. Funding for the programs is through donations, grants, fundraising and EGA Shop sales. In 2009, the 15-item online store began expansion, eventually becoming the EGA Shop. In 2010, the production facility was established on-site to design and develop custom product, dramatically boosting sales and providing additional funding for the outreach programs. The organization is an official Marine Corps Trademark licensee.

Statistics updated January, 2015.