MN Marine's family as search is suspended: 'Our dreams were utterly shattered'

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The Coast Guard has suspended its search for 12 Marines who went missing after two helicopters crashed during a training mission over Hawaii last week.

Sgt. Dillon Semolina, originally from Delano, Minnesota, is among the missing.

“A decision to suspend searching without finding survivors is extremely difficult given the depth of its impact and I know I speak for the entire Coast Guard when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Marine Corps helicopter squadron and particularly with families and loved ones of those missing,” Capt. Jim Jenkins, chief of staff and acting commander, Coast Guard 14th District, said in a news release Tuesday.

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The Coast Guard searched 40,530 square nautical miles in an effort to find the missing Marines, but with no luck the search will transition to salvage and recovery, headed by the Marine Corps, the release says.

The Marine Corps will continue to recover any debris and "other remains that may [be] discovered," Brig. Gen. Russell Sanborn, commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, said, according to The Associated Press. The hope is they'll be able to give closure to families "that still want that final piece of the puzzle."

Sgt. Semolina's family traveled to Hawaii this week to await updates on their son.

In a post on a GoFundMe page created for the family, they wrote:

"Today our dreams were utterly shattered. Our son Sergeant Dillon Semolina's last breath was taken in his bird (as he would call it) doing what he loved to do last Thursday night. He took great pride in the Marine Corp and his fellow Marines on his flight line were family to him. Divers have located the aircrafts and are currently looking to recover these precious souls and bring them back to their families. ...
Please pray we can bring Dillon home soon."

A memorial service is planned for Friday morning at the base in Hawaii to honor the 12 Marines who are presumed dead, the post says.

The family also thanked the community for their support since the crash.

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