Vigil held after Black Hawk crash


HAMMOND, Fla. – Thick fog forced the Coast Guard to suspend its search until Thursday for military men who crashed into the water in Florida's panhandle.

Wednesday night, the community held a candlelight vigil at the Navarre Beach pier for the missing men.

Coming from a military family, Jessica Blackwood said she felt compelled to organize the vigil.

"We are lucky to have these people who are willing to die for us," Blackwood said. "They don't know me and yet they're willing to go out there and put their lives on the line for me. What else can I do (other) than give them that respect that they more than deserve?"

The seven Marines out of Camp Lejeune and four Army soldiers from Hammond, Louisana, were onboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. They were doing a routine night-training mission that they have to be prepared for in all types of weather.

"I know our guys for search and rescue are highly trained to do that job and do it well," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Craig Savage. "The air crews and members onboard are highly trained crew members, so I know everybody's doing everything they can right now."

Federal, state and local agencies are deploying resources to assist in the search until the mission is complete.

"We are right in the middle of two military installations and we're bordered left and right and to the north we have Whiting Field," said Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rich Aloy. "There's a lot of military in this area so we all take this very seriously."