All seven Marines who died in a helicopter collision near Yuma, Ariz. on Wednesday night have been identified by the Military.
Sgt. Justin Avery Everett, Lance Cpl. Corey Little, Major Thomas Budrejko, Capt. Benjamin Cerniglia, Capt. Michael M. Quin, Lance Cpl. Nickoulas H. Elliott, Capt. Nathan W. Anderson, were all idenfied by MCAS Miramar on Friday.
Six of the victims were from Camp Pendleton and one was from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona. Three of the Marines survived tours in Iraq or Afghanistan and they all have a list of personal awards earned from their service.
Capt. Benjamin Cerniglia was the 31-year-old son of a pastor from Montgomery, Ala. He joined the Marines in 2007 and served as a pilot.
33-year-old Sgt. Justin Avery Everett, was a 10-year Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq and was scheduled to go to Afghanistan in July, his family said.
Wanda Little says her son, 25-year-old Lance Cpl. Corey Little of Fayetteville, was a Huey helicopter crew chief who died in the crash. Wanda said her son graduated from Sandy Creek High School in 2004 and played baseball while growing up in Fayetteville, just south of Atlanta.
Major Thomas Budrejko was a 37-year-old graduate of Montville High School in Connecticut, his aunt and godmother, Gail Budrejko, of Newington told NBC Connecticut. He served three deployments in Iraq in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and one in Afghanistan in 2010, according to MCAS Miramar.
James Everett says his son, Sgt. Justin Everett, grew up in Fresno and was a wrestler at Reedley High School. Everett was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and served as a helicopter crew chief. Justin Everett is survived by his wife, a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
Capt. Michael M. Quin, 28, of Purcellville, Va was identified by the Marines as another victim. He joined the Marines in 2006, and served as a pilot.
Lance Cpl. Nickoulas H. Elliott, 21, of Spokane, Wash., enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2009 and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard UH-1Y Hueys.
Capt. Nathan W. Anderson, 32, of Amarillo, Texas was the only Marine stationed in MCAS Yuma. He served three tours in Iraq and 2007, 2008, 2009.
Officials are still trying to determine what caused the Cobra Attack chopper and Huey Helicopter to crash during a routine exercise on Wednesday night.
Both helicopters from Camp Pendleton were training out of MCAS Yuma in Arizona. There were no survivors from the incident.
The units involved are back home at Camp Pendleton and most of the families of the victims have been notified.
“Every single one of these Marines impacted our squadron in their own special way and the entire Marine Corps aviation community is feeling their tragic loss.” said Lt. Col. Stephen Lightfoot, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 commanding officer in a statement.
Copyright Associated Press/NBC San Diego
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