5 Marines Missing From Mid-Air Refueling Collision Declared Dead, Search Called Off

Sad news. The 5 Marines missing from the mid-air collision their aircraft suffered while refueling have been declared dead and the search has been called off.

The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force issued the following report:

“After an update from the Joint Personnel Recovery Center, and a review of all available information, I have made the determination to end the search and rescue operations for the crew of our KC-130J aircraft which was involved in a mishap off the southern coast of Japan and to declare that these Marine warriors are deceased.

Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by US, Japanese, and Australian forces during the search. The KC-130J flight data and cockpit voice recorders have not been located at this time, making it premature to speculate about wreckage recovery. Every member of the III MEF family mourns this loss and stands alongside the families of the fallen in this terrible moment. We remain, Semper Fidelis.” – LtGen Eric M. Smith, Commanding General, III MEF”

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan – The Marine Corps has pronounced the five remaining Marines involved in the F/A-18 and KC-130 aviation mishap deceased. The change in status comes at the conclusion of search and rescue operations.

The next-of-kin for the five deceased Marines have been notified.

Our most valued asset is the individual Marine. We remain faithful to our Marines and their families as we support them through this difficult time. We ask for members of the public to please respect the family and allow them privacy.

The KC-130 Hercules was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152, call sign “Sumo”), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

“All of us in the Sumo family are extremely saddened following the announcement of the conclusion of search and rescue operations,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of VMGR-152. “We know this difficult decision was made after all resources were exhausted in the vigorous search for our Marines. Our thoughts are heavy and our prayers are with all family and friends of all five aircrew.”

The F/A-18 Hornet involved was assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA-242). The aircraft were conducting regularly-scheduled training. It is not confirmed that aerial refueling was ongoing when the mishap occurred.”

Fox News offered the following report:

Rest in peace, Marines. Semper Fi.

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