Five Marines Perish in California Helicopter Crash

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  • Five Marines Perish in California Helicopter Crash

    On Thursday, the Marine Corps announced that all five Marines on board a missing helicopter in Southern California earlier this week had tragically died. We are withholding the servicemen's names until their families are notified.

    On that fateful mission, the Marines were flying from Nevada to an air base close to San Diego in a CH-53E Super Stallion. The unfortunate chopper crashed in bad weather over a hilly area to the east of the city. Victims belonged to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, which is a component of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

    "It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the 'Flying Tigers' while conducting a training flight [Tuesday]." Third Marine Aircraft Wing commanding officer Maj. Gen. Michael Borgschulte expressed deep sorrow. The pilots and crew members felt an overwhelming sense of pride as they fulfilled a mission that went beyond themselves.

    “We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service,” he concluded. Our sincere sympathies go out to the families of our fallen Marines. We promise to be there for you during this very difficult time.

    While an investigation into the event is continuing, the Marine Corps has revealed that continued attempts are being made to collect the Marines and the chopper wreckage.

    This terrible event took place close to Pine Valley, California, which is east of San Diego. In response to the helicopter's "overdue" status as reported to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, a multi-agency search effort was launched early on Wednesday morning.

    According to a spokeswoman for the San Diego Sheriff's Office, the agency received the aid request at around 1 a.m. local time. The search was launched two hours later in spite of the difficult weather conditions, which were distinguished by snow and rain. Authorities and flight monitoring data indicate that the last known position of the chopper was at 11:30 p.m. local time.

    A reliable military aircraft since the 1980s, the CH-53E Super Stallion has tragically been involved in many high-profile mishaps, resulting in fatalities. Specifically, at El Centro, California, six years ago, a Super Stallion crashed, killing four Marines from the 3rd MAW. Furthermore, twelve crew members perished in a 2016 accident between two Super Stallions off the Hawaiian coast.

    Their deaths have sent shockwaves through the military and the world at large, and they have served as a sobering reminder of the dangers that serve in the military may bring. The Marine Corps will continue to assist the relatives of the victims and do comprehensive investigations to ensure that such tragedies do not happen again as the country grieves.

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