San Diego, California – Five US Marines have tragically lost their lives after their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed during a training flight in a remote area of Southern California Tuesday night. The Marines were reported overdue while en route from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. Efforts are currently underway to recover their remains.
Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, expressed his gratitude for the fallen Marines’ selfless service, stating, “These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so.” The families of the Marines have been personally notified, and the Marines’ identities are expected to be released shortly.
Col. James Ford of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing held a news conference to provide updates on the recovery efforts. He mentioned that the focus has shifted to retrieving the Marines’ remains in the hazardous terrain where the wreckage was discovered. Ford highlighted the unwavering support of their fellow Marines, who have been standing watch over the fallen despite adverse weather conditions.
The search for the helicopter was hampered by heavy snow, with winds gusting up to 20 mph in the area. Radar data indicated a heavy band of precipitation swept through the region, causing rain at lower elevations and snow at higher elevations. The investigation into the crash is currently ongoing.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is a heavy-lift aircraft capable of transporting troops and equipment, with a cargo capacity of up to 16 tons. The Marines on board the ill-fated helicopter were assigned to Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16.
President Joe Biden expressed his condolences, stating that he and the first lady were “heartbroken” by the news. As the Department of Defense investigates the incident, their thoughts are with the families of the fallen Marines and their squadron.
As the recovery efforts continue in the hazardous terrain, the focus remains on retrieving the remains of the five brave Marines lost in the helicopter crash. The Marine Corps community stands united in grief, honoring their fallen comrades in arms through their unwavering presence at the mishap site.