Search Continues for Missing Marines, Soldiers

The search continued Wednesday afternoon for seven marines special operators and four Army aircrew members who were on board a Louisiana Army National Guard UH-60 when it crashed off the Florida coast near Eglin Air Force Base. Two UH-60s, assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, were conducting a routine training mission with marine Special Forces from Camp Lejeune, N.C., at the time, according to a Guard release. One of the helicopters was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. on March 10. Eglin search and rescue teams located debris around 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to a base release. The second helicopter safely returned to base. Army Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, Louisiana National Guard adjutant general, said both the pilots were instructor pilots and the “entire crew had several thousand hours flying the Blackhawk,” according to a USA Today video of a Wednesday press conference. The names of the missing soldiers and marines are being withheld pending next of kin notification. The accident is under investigation. “In the wake of the helicopter crash off the coast of northwest Florida last night, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the missing Army National Guard soldiers and US marines,” wrote Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke in a Facebook post Wednesday.