The Marine Corps has identified the five Marines killed aboard a KC-130 refueling tanker when it collided with a F/A-18 fighter jet off the coast of Japan last week. They were identified as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, N.C., Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y., Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz., Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill., and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn.
They were declared deceased earlier this week after an exhaustive search and rescue effort, covering 35,000 square miles, failed to find them or their missing aircraft.
Last Wednesday, the two aircraft were participating in an overnight refueling exercise 200 miles off the southwest coast of Japan. The Marine Corps has not been able to confirm that the two aircraft were conducting a midair refueling aircraft when the mishap occurred. The incident remains under investigation.
The two aviators aboard the Marine fighter jet were able to eject from their aircraft, but the KC-130 refueling tanker did not have that capability.
Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces found one of the two Marines aboard the fighter jet alive four hours after the collision, Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, was recovered six hours later but pronounced deceased.
The five Marines aboard the KC-130 were all assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transportation Squadron 152 (VMGR-152) based in Japan.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the names of our fallen Marines,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of VMGR-152. “They were exceptional aviators, Marines, and friends whom will be eternally missed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”
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SOURCE: ABC News, Luis Martinez