Basking Ridge Marine was one of 11 killed in Black Hawk crash
A Basking Ridge man has been identified as among the 11 military personnel killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the waters off Florida during a routine training mission in dense fog Wednesday.
Capt. Stanford Henry Shaw III of Basking Ridge was listed Friday by military officials, who said the crash victims also included: Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders of Williamsburg, Virginia; Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn of Queens, New York; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock of Lake Orion, Michigan; Staff Sgt. Kerry Michael Kemp of Port Washington, Wisconsin; Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif of Holland, Michigan; and Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol from Warren, Michigan.
All seven were from the 2nd Special Operations Battalion of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Four Louisiana National Guard soldiers also died in the crash. Their names have yet been released.
Shaw, 31, attended Ridge High School, where he was student government president and captain of the varsity lacrosse team. He attended the United States Naval Academy and upon his graduation in 2006 became a commissioned Marine officer. After graduating from the Infantry Officer Course, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq, according to information provided by the Marines at Camp Lejeune.
The helicopter - a UH-60 Black Hawk from the Army National Guard - was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and search-and-rescue crews found debris around 2 a.m., said Andy Bourland, spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base, outside Pensacola.
Much of the area was enveloped in fog from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, said Katie Moore with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. Much of that time, the visibility was at two miles or less, she said.
The fog created low visibility even as the sun came up, and the area was under a fog advisory.
Local law enforcement agencies vehicles gathered Wednesday at the crash scene, near a remote swath of beach between Pensacola and Destin. The beach is owned by the military and is used for test missions.
From the beach, search boats could be heard blasting their fog horns as they combed the water, but could not be seen through the fog.
Base officials said the Marines were part of a Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based special operations group. The soldiers were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit. Names of those involved were not immediately released, pending notification of next of kin, Bourland said.
Bourland said the Army helicopter took off from a nearby airport in Destin and joined other aircraft in the training exercise.
The training area includes 20 miles of pristine beachfront that has been under the control of the military since before World War II. Military police keep a close watch on the area and have been known to run off private vendors who rent jet skis or paddle boards without permission.
Test range manager Glenn Barndollar told The Associated Press in August that the beach provides an ideal training area for special operations units from all branches of the military to practice over the water, on the beach and in the bay.
The military sometimes drops trainees over the water using boats or helicopters and the trainees must make their way onshore.