After two military aircraft crashes in two days in the California desert -- one that killed 5 Marines -- Navy officials directed all non-deployed Navy aviation units to hold a "safety pause" Monday to look over their practices and conduct training.
"In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities," Commander of Naval Air Forces Public Affairs wrote in a release Saturday, adding that units currently on deployment would hold safety pauses as soon as possible.
The U.S. Marine Corps released the identities of all five Marines who died in Wednesday's MV-22B Osprey crash in Imperial County, about 150 miles east of San Diego.
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One day after the MV-22B's crash, another military aircraft crash happened in a nearby desert; this time an A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter went down the border of California and Arizona.
Luckily, all four of the aircrew from that flight survived the crash, according to Cmdr. Zach Harrell, Public Affairs Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces. One member suffered a non-life-threatening injury and was transported to a local hospital, Harrell said.
The 5 Marines killed in the Osprey crash were:
Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois, a Tiltrotor Crew Chief
Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of New Durham, New Hampshire, an MV-22B Pilot
Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a Tiltrotor Crew Chief
Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, California, an MV-22B Pilot
Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a Tiltrotor Crew Chief
"It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,” said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, Commanding Officer of VMM-364. “This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families. Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time. We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help."
The crew was engaged in routine flight training when the crash happened. Authorities are investigating the "mishap."
The MV-22B Osprey crashed near Glamis, Calif., at about 12:25 p.m. Wednesday, said 1st Lt. Duane Kampa, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Air Wing.
All five Marines were based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, in California and were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) Squadron 364 , Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39 and the 3rd MAW.
For more information, contact Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs at 619-545-4779 or 619-726-3749.