Marines Confirmed Dead after Deadly Helicopter Crash

( – Five Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, missing since February 6th, are now declared dead. During a training mission, the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter reported its final known position at 11:20 p.m. on February 6th while en route from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. Discovered in Pine Valley, California, on the morning of February 7th, efforts are underway to recover their remains.

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte expressed gratitude for the fallen Marines’ selfless service and commitment to duty. President Joe Biden, addressing the tragedy, extended condolences to the families and the U.S. Marine Corps, emphasizing the nation’s mourning for the loss of these warriors.

The identities of the deceased Marines, assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, will not be disclosed until 24 hours after notifying next-of-kin. Recovery efforts, utilizing aircraft from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, Marine Corps planes and helicopters, National Guard drones, equipment and crews from the Civil Air Patrol, and specialized Marine ground crews, are actively ongoing due to the hazardous terrain and inclement weather conditions California recently experienced.

The crashed helicopter was found in a mountainous area east of San Diego, complicating search efforts amid rain and snow. The Marine Corps, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Border Patrol contributed to the search near the U.S.-Mexico border. The recovery involves ground operations due to challenging terrain and weather.

In a statement, Marine Col. James Ford confirmed the loss of five outstanding Marines, expressing profound sadness and emphasizing their dedication to a higher calling.

President Biden, recognizing the Marines’ selfless service and ultimate sacrifice, pledged condolences and acknowledged the nation’s obligation to those in uniform and their families. The investigation into the crash remains ongoing.

In line with customary practice, the remains of the deceased have been under the watchful guard of fellow Marines since their discovery, as noted by Ford.

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