HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A Marine Corps color guard and a bag piper have done their work in the rain as a Marine from western Michigan was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The funeral took place Tuesday at the cemetery in Washington’s Virginia suburbs.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif of Holland and two other Michigan Marines were among 11 service members killed March 10 when a military helicopter crashed in dense fog during a training exercise in Florida.
The 27-year-old was a graduate of West Ottawa High School. A memorial service also was held Saturday at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Holland.
Seif was awarded the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest honor, only days before his death for acts of valor performed while he was serving in Afghanistan.
It was during a 2012 tour that Seif and fellow Marine Sgt. Justin Hansen from Traverse City came under fire while seeking out a bomb maker. Hansen was wounded. Seif cared for his fellow Marine and carried out the mission alone, killing the bomb maker, before returning to help Hansen. At times, Seif even shielded Hansen with his own body. Despite Seif’s efforts, Hansen did not survive.
Seif was also named the 2013 Marine of the Year for the same acts that earned him the Silver Star.
Less than a week before his death, Seif accepted the Silver Star on behalf of his team and Hansen’s family, speaking about caring for the families of fallen Marines.
“Make sure you remember those families out there. Contact them, let them know they’re still part of the family. I appreciate it,” he said at the time.
Seif’s survivors include his pregnant wife Dawn, parents and three siblings.