ALL five victims in a fatal military aircraft crash on Wednesday have been identified.
The aircraft, identified as an MV-22B Osprey, was based at Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and was part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The MV-22B Osprey went down at around 12.25pm local time in Imperial County, a remote location about 30 miles north of the US-Mexico border.
“We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic mishap. Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they cope with this tragedy,” Commanding General of 3rd MAW Maj. Gen. Bradford K Gering said in a statement.
All of the men were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd marine Aircraft Wing and were based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California.
They have been identified as: Cpl Nathan E Carlson, 21, Captain Nicholas P Losapio, 31, Cpl Seth D Rasmuson, 21, Captain John J Sax, 33, and Lance Cpl Evan A Strickland, 19.
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,” said Lt Col John C Miller in a statement.
“This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families.
“Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time
We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help.”
First Lieutenant Duane Kempa of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing confirmed to The Sun on Wednesday that the aircraft went down near Glamis, California, in a desert area.
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing says the victims’ identities will not be released until “24-hours after all next-of-kin notifications have been completed.”
“While military service is inherently dangerous, the loss of life is always difficult,” Gen. Gering added.
OSPREY’S CONTROVERSIAL HISTORY
The MV-22B is a twin-engine tiltrotor aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter but transit as a turboprop aircraft.
Versions of the aircraft are flown by the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
However, the aircraft has had a troubling history, causing 46 deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Since the Pentagon made the MV-22B operational in 2007, there have been eight Osprey crashes, the outlet reported.
In March, four North Carolina-based Marines were killed in another Osprey crash during a NATO exercise near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle.
In 2001, the Marine Corps suspended the commander of its MV-22 Osprey training squadron amid allegations that he had urged aides to falsify maintenance records, per the LA Times.
According to the outlet, the Pentagon’s top testing official said in a November 2000 study that the “Osprey had unusually high maintenance needs and suffered from problems that, unless corrected, would make it unreliable and often unavailable for missions.”
The study and suspension came after two fatal Osprey crashes in 2000 that tainted the controversial aircraft’s record.
One crash near New River Marine Corps Air Station in Jacksonville, NC., in December of that year killed four Marines.
Another in April 2000 in Arizona killed 19.