Norfolk, Va. - Their dress blues no doubt matched their somber mood as the military community banded together to show support for the fallen. It’s hard, so very hard to know what to say at a time like this.
“We continue to keep the families of Wes, and Brian, Sean in our prayers and ask you do the same,” says Rear Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic.
As the admiral said, there was prayer inside the memorial service, but much more than that. There were stories about how the men lived.
Their lives may have been short, the event that took them away from this world over the Atlantic ten days ago may have been unexpected, but the plan this day was to celebrate life.
Here are a few quotes from those who knew them best:
“He wasn’t shy about offering his opinion, and he loved his children,” says a friend about Lt. Sean Snyder.
“He would put anyone at ease, and don’t be surprised if you end up laughing,” a friend said about Lt. Wesley Van Dorn.
“He displayed a quiet confidence and easy smile, and he brought us closer together as a family,” said another friend about Brian Collins.
“We will continue to support those who have been affected by this tragic accident and hoping that today’s memorial allows those families continue with that grieving process and hopefully start the healing process,” says Rear Admiral Mike Shoemaker
The Navy brass had one last request: They asked the Vanguard and Black Hawks to honor their fallen crewmen by carrying on, in other words, continuing the mission as they would have it if they were still here.
UPDATE: Victims of Navy helicopter crash identified; name of missing pilot released
Navy temporarily suspends dive operations for helo crash due to weather conditions
Family of pilot killed in Navy helicopter crash releases statement
Neighbors describe helo crash victim as loving dad
Navy committed to sticking with Sea Dragon after 4th accident in two years
Navy continues to search for missing crewmember after helo crash
Team Coverage: History of training-related accidents in Hampton Roads
Two Navy helicopters were training together when fatal crash occurred
Team Coverage: Mike Mather reports live from airplane over scene of fatal Navy helo crash
Search crews use side scanning sonar to look for missing crewmember
Beach Fire and Police assist Navy, Coast Guard in searches after Navy helicopter crash
Rescued crewmembers from Navy helicopter crash taken to Sentara Norfolk General
Cell phone video shows injured crew members arrived at Sentara Norfolk General
Beach Fire and Rescue official talks about search for missing sailor after helo crash
Video: Navy helicopter crash weather conditions
Video: Officials hold press conference after fatal Navy helicopter crash