Navy divers, sailors awarded for MH-53E recovery and salvage
Posted on February 6, 2014 at 8:36 PM
Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 9:07 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A group of sailors and Navy divers responsible for salvaging a downed MH-53E helicopter and recovering a missing aviator in the wreckage has been awarded.
Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, presented the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal to 19 sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 for their efforts after an MH-53E went down 18 nautical miles off the coast of Cape Henry on Jan. 8.
39-year-old Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, 29-year-old Lt. J. Wesley Van Dorn and 25-year-old Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 3rd Class Brian Andrew Collins died when the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed during routine mine countermeasure training, the Navy said.
Collins and Van Dorn died at the hospital; Snyder's remains were recovered by MDSU2 crewmembers the following day.
"Thanks for helping us find the 'what happened' on the helicopter, and from the family: 'thanks for bringing him home,'" Gortney said.
Two other crewmembers of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 survived the crash and are in recovery.
Gortney further recognized the sailors and noted that because of their hard work, "we can find out what caused it, and put in place mechanisms to prevent it from happening again."
Approximately 95% of the wreckage was salvaged, according to the Navy.