Marine Corps Identifies 5 Marines Lost in Midair Crash

An F/A-18D Hornet with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242, and a KC-130J Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, conduct simulated aerial refueling during the 41st Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force – Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Friendship Day at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, May 5, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Aaron Henson)
An F/A-18D Hornet with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242, and a KC-130J Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, conduct simulated aerial refueling during the 41st Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force – Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Friendship Day at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, May 5, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Aaron Henson)

The Marine Corps has identified five Marines killed in a collision last week between an F/A-18 Hornet and a KC-130 Hercules off the coast of Japan during refueling operations.

They include: Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, North Carolina; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, New York; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Arizona; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Illinois; and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

The service members were assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), officials said in a release Wednesday.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the names of our fallen Marines," Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of VMGR-152, said in the announcement. "They were exceptional aviators, Marines, and friends who will be eternally missed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones at this extremely difficult time."

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The Marines' collective service time spanned more than 40 years, officials said. Herrmann, a 16-year veteran of the Corps, was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, the release stated.

Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, one of the F/A-18 pilots, was pronounced dead Friday after he was found during search-and-rescue operations off Kochi on Dec. 6. Resilard served as an F/A-18 pilot with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA(AW)-242), stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, officials said.

The second, unidentified Marine piloting the Hornet was released from the hospital this week, Stars and Stripes reported.

A massive, six-day search-and-rescue operations concluded Dec. 11.

"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 U.S., Japanese and Australian forces during the search," said Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, on the day operations ceased.  

"The KC-130J flight data and cockpit voice recorders have not been located at this time, making it premature to speculate about wreckage recovery," he said of the decision.

U.S. 7th Fleet supported the operations with a Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft flying out of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

In addition to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Coast Guard, they were aided by Air Force pararescue and special tactics airmen with the 353rd Special Operations Group and 320th Special Tactics Squadron, and MC-130 Combat Talons and CV-22 Ospreys out of Kadena, according to Military Times.

The aircraft launched from MCAS Iwakuni early last Thursday morning. The crash occurred about 200 miles off the coast of Japan, officials said.

The accident is under investigation.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

 

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