- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii (AP) - The latest on a memorial for 12 Marines aboard two helicopters that crashed off the Hawaii coast (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the country is grateful for the service and sacrifice of 12 Marines aboard two helicopters that crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

Obama offered his family’s sympathies in a statement Friday as loved ones gathered at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe for a memorial service for the lost servicemen.

The president says their willingness to complete dangerous training missions will not be forgotten and their spirit of service was reflected in the around-the-clock search.

The Marine Corps said Wednesday that search efforts were being suspended after five days and the Marines are considered dead.

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11:20 a.m.

A memorial service for 12 U.S. Marines aboard two helicopters that crashed off the coast of Hawaii has begun at their home base.

Military members and families have gathered Friday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe to pay tribute to the lost Marines.

Enlarged pictures of the men and 12 white crosses were lined up on a tarmac where a helicopter was parked. Servicemen placed flight vests, rifles, flight helmets, combat boots and leis on each of the crosses.

The Marine Corps said Wednesday that search efforts were being suspended after five days and the Marines are considered dead.

The crew had all earned various decorations and were members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

___

7 a.m.

The 12 U.S. Marines aboard two helicopters that crashed off the coast of Hawaii are being memorialized at a ceremony on their home base in Hawaii.

Military members and families are gathering at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Friday to pay tribute to the lost Marines.

The Marine Corps said Wednesday search efforts were being suspended after five days and the Marines are considered dead.

The crew had all earned various decorations and were members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller in a statement said the 12 Marines embodied courage, determination and focus on success. He said they will be missed, but not forgotten. The Marines were from various states and ranged in age from 21 to 41.

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