Local Marine MIA After Hawaii Helicopter Collision

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“Three Marines showed up at her door,” Sgt. Jeffrey Sempler’s uncle, Mark DeHaas said.

When you’re a Marine Corps mother, you hope and pray the only Marine who shows up at your door is your own.

“Just to notify her that him and all the others were listed as MIA,” DeHaas said.

Two Marine Corps choppers collided during a routine late-night training mission on Thursday.  One of the Marines on board was Sgt. Jeffrey Sempler who was born here in the Elmira area.  The coast guard says it found debris over the weekend from the crash, but high surf has scattered it far and wide.

“We are dedicated to trying to locate and bring back these service members,” Coast Guard Cpt. Jim Jenkins said.

Late Monday afternoon, authorities say they found three life rafts that had been carried aboard the helicopters that crashed. The Coast Guard says some were inflated, but it was unclear how they became inflated.

“I’ve been doing a lot of pacing and just thinking. There’s not much we can do at this point,” DeHaas said.

Sgt. Sempler’s uncle says he’s a go-getter and an achiever. All he ever wanted was to become a helicopter crew chief.

“He aimed high and he was actually reaching every goal he had set for himself,” DeHaas said. 

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