Losses and Aviation Safety

Marines involved in F/A-18 and KC-130 mishap deceased; search and rescue operations Off Japan concluded

Marines involved in F/A-18 and KC-130 mishap deceased

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.

VMGR-152

Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), known as the “Sumos”, flies the fixed-wing Lockheed Martin KC-130J aircraft. VMGR-152 is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Iwakuni, Japan and is part of Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW).

For over 70 years, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 has maintained a tradition of excellence, innovation, and leadership in both the aviation community and the United States Marine Corps. Born in the war-torn Western Pacific on March 11, 1942, the squadron matured during the hardships of war and accomplished a wide variety of assigned missions. Now, over seven decades later, having served in every major conflict our country has faced, the Sumos of VMGR-152 stand ready at the “Tip of the Spear” to face any challenge.

Photo credit: LCpl Jade Farrington, identified by DVIDS, PUBLIC DOMAIN

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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