U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft did not, however, locate the crew of the KC-130 Hercules
The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has pronounced the five remaining Marines involved in the F/A-18 and KC-130 aviation mishap during an air-to-air refueling exercise on Dec. 6, deceased. The change in status comes at the conclusion of search and rescue operations.
The service said the KC-130 Hercules was assigned to VMGR-152.
“We know this difficult decision was made after all resources were exhausted in the vigorous search for our Marines,” Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell Maury, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron, said in a statement.
“Our thoughts are heavy and our prayers are with all family and friends of all five aircrew.”
Two marine pilots flying an F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter and the five crew members onboard the KC-130 Hercules went missing in waters about 320 km (200 miles) off the Japanese coast following what U.S. officials have said may have been a mid-air collision.
One of the two Hornet pilots found by search and rescue teams died. The other was injured.
U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft did not, however, locate the crew of the Hercules. Both aircraft flew from the USMC’s Iwakuni air station in Japan.
Photo credit: Marines from Arlington, VA, United States