Marines Identify Flight Surgeon Who Died After Struck by Rotor Blade

Lt. James Mazzuchelli. (U.S. Navy)
Lt. James Mazzuchelli. (U.S. Navy)

Officials have identified a Navy officer who succumbed to his injuries after being struck by a spinning helicopter blade Feb. 21.

Navy Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli, 32, died Saturday after he was critically injured by the tail rotor of a UH-1Y Venom, officials with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement.

Mazzuchelli was a flight surgeon assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, where the tragic mishap occurred. The squadron flies UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Cobras.

According to officials, Mazzuchelli was from Orange Park, Florida and received his commission in the Navy in June 2010. He had previously deployed with the squadron to Japan in 2016 as part of the Marines' Unit Deployment Program, officials said.

No additional details were available about how the incident happened or the nature of Mazzuchelli's injuries. He was struck by the rotor around 6p.m. the evening of Feb. 21, and died at Scripps La Jolla Medical Facility just before 6a.m. Saturday.

An investigation into the mishap is ongoing.

"Lt. James Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and Sailor," Col. Matthew Mowery, commanding officer of MAG-39, said in a statement. "His contagious enthusiasm, motivation, and love for the Marines and Sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG-39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends."

Mowery said Mazzuchelli's contribution to the Marine Corps would be "sorely missed."

"His willingness to join the Navy and elect to serve faithfully with the Marines should give a sense of pride to all of us who serve our country that we are surrounded by heroes every day," he said."

Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW, said in a brief statement that his heart went out to Mazzuchelli's family and the Corps would continue to support them.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

Editor's note: this story was updated to correct Mazzuchelli's middle initial.

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