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5 Marines Were Killed In California Helicopter Crash

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5 Marines Were Killed In California Helicopter Crash

(CTN News) – Marine Corps officials confirmed Thursday that five Marines died in a helicopter crash Tuesday in Southern California.

The CH-53E Super Stallion crashed on Wednesday morning while on a routine training flight from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said Wednesday it was searching for five Marines on board the helicopter. Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 of the wing confirmed the Marines’ deaths on Thursday morning.

The news release from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing did not name the five Marines, citing the military’s policy of waiting 24 hours after notifying next of kin before releasing names.

In the release, Maj. Gen. Michael Borgschulte, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said, “These pilots and crewmembers served a calling greater than themselves.” The Marine Corps will always be grateful to them for their selfless service.

We extend our deepest condolences to the families of our fallen Marines and commit to offering support and care during this difficult time,” Borgschulte said.

There is an investigation underway into the incident.

The news release stated that efforts have begun to recover the remains and equipment of the Marines.

A federal, state, and local search was launched after the Super Stallion helicopter failed to arrive at the San Diego Marine installation Miramar on Tuesday night.

Around 9:08 a.m. in Pine Valley, California, the agencies discovered the aircraft. The Marine Corps did not confirm the helicopter crash until Thursday.

A storm swept over Southern California as the Marines flew the heavy-lift helicopter.

A newer, more powerful “K” variant, known as the King Stallion, is replacing the aging CH-53E.

According to Navy Safety Command data provided to Marine Corps Times, the Super Stallion was involved in 16 “Class A” mishaps between October 2012 and October 2023. That type of mishap results in death or permanent total disability, or the destruction of at least $2.5 million of an aircraft.

Four Marines died in a Super Stallion crash in Southern California in April 2018. Twelve Marines were killed when two Super Stallions crashed off Hawaii during the night of January 16, 2016.

In a statement Thursday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden expressed their condolences for the loss.

“Our service members are the best of our nation – and these five Marines were no exception,” Biden said. We mourn today the loss of their selfless service and ultimate sacrifice – and reaffirm our sacred obligation to those who wear the uniform and their families.

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