Today our hearts are heavy with grief for the U.S. Marines who perished when their helicopter went down in the mountains of Nepal earlier this week while providing aid to earthquake victims there. We also join our Nepalese partners in mourning the loss of their servicemembers who were onboard the helicopter at the time, and we thank the Nepalese and Indian governments for their continued support in search and recovery operations.
This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role that American servicemembers play in delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Our mission continues in Nepal, and we remain dedicated to answering the call when disaster strikes, both in the Asia-Pacific and around the world.
As we approach Armed Forces Day -- when America recognizes the immense contributions made by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen, and marines -- the men and women of the Department of Defense stand strong alongside the families of these fallen patriots. They and their loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers.