TheUSA Today article about a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico in which 11 servicemembers were killed sparked outrage by the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Marines killed were part of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, when a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter crashed near Eglin, Florida, at approximately 8:30 p.m. March 10.
It is unconscionable that USA Today would use the tragedy of Wednesday’s military helicopter crash in Florida to criticize the unit to which the Marines were assigned, citing a controversial incident that occurred eight years ago in Afghanistan. The two events are completely unrelated and the story shamelessly devotes a few paragraphs to the crash in order to rehash old allegations against a small unit within the command — most of which were found unsubstantiated through investigations and a court of inquiry. Linking the crash with the Afghanistan case was uncalled for and a disservice to the dedicated Marines of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, and their families.
The dead include: Capt. Stanford H. Shaw, III, 31, from Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Master Sgt. Thomas A. Saunders, 33, from Williamsburg, Virginia; Staff Sgt. Marcus S. Bawol, 26, from Warren, Michigan; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock, 29, from Lake Orion, Michigan; Staff Sgt. Liam A. Flynn, 33, from Queens, New York; Staff Sgt. Kerry M. Kemp, 27, from Port Washington, Wisconsin; and Staff Sgt. Andrew C. Seif, 26, from Holland, Michigan.