West Michigan Marine presumed dead after helicopter crash

Posted at 11:16 PM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 23:31:33-04

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Eleven service members are presumed dead after an army Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a night training mission off Florida’s Gulf Coast. One of those potential victims is a Marine from right here in West Michigan.

The Holland Sentinel is reporting that U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif was on board when the aircraft went down.

Sgt. Andrew Seif’s bravery is well documented. Just last week he was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan. In July 2012, Seif and his unit were working to capture an enemy insurgent. He was with Sgt. Justin Hansen from Traverse City.

Hansen was shot several times as they approached the compound. Seif didn`t wait for reinforcements; instead, he secured the compound on his own. He then returned to treat his wounded fellow Marine.

Despite Seif’s efforts, Hansen did not make it. However, Seif’s bravery did not go unnoticed. In addition to earning the Silver Star for those actions, he was also named “Marine of the Year” in 2013, an award he said he was very humbled by when he spoke to FOX 17 shortly after learning he was being honored.

“There’s a lot of individual focus on me,” said the Marine. “I was a part of a little larger team there wasn’t just two guys. There were multiple guys out there doing great stuff and I just happened to be on a really good team that looks out for the boys.”

The helicopter that crashed Tuesday night was on a training exercise out of the Pensacola area when it went down. Military officials are still investigating that crash and say heavy fog was reported Tuesday evening. In fact, those conditions actually forced a *2nd chopper to turn back around.

The seven Marines who were on board that flight were based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.