6 Marines, 1 sailor from Camp Lejeune killed in Mississippi plane crash
Posted July 11
ITTA BENA, Miss. — Six Marines and a sailor from Camp Lejenue were among the 16 people killed when a military plane crashed into a soybean field in rural Mississippi Monday, Marine Corps officials said Tuesday.
Leflore County, Miss., Emergency Management Agency Director Frank Randle told reporters at a briefing late Monday that 16 bodies had been recovered after the KC-130 spiraled into the ground about 85 miles north of Jackson in the Mississippi Delta. A witness said some bodies were found more than a mile from the crash site.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns said in a statement that a KC-130 "experienced a mishap" Monday evening but provided no details. The KC-130 is used as a refueling tanker.
Though the KC-130 refueling tanker took off from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, Marine Capt. John Roberts said the plane was under the command of the 4th Marine Air Wing, which is part of the Marine Forces Reserve headquartered in New Orleans.
The aircraft was transporting the group for routine small unit pre-deployment training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.
All seven from Camp Lejeune were members of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, officials said.
The identities of the deceased were being withheld to allow time for notification of their next of kin.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire MARSOC family at this time," the Marine Corps Special Operations Command chief of staff said in a statement. "The incredible demands of this dangerous and demanding calling forge some of the tightest unit and family bonds found in the U.S. military. This loss impacts us all."
Officials did not release information on what caused the crash.
In 2015, seven Marines from the same battalion were killed during a training accident when the Louisiana National Guard helicopter they were in crashed off the coast of Florida.
Governor Cooper ordered all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday.
Cooper released a statement on the crash:
"Today we learned that among the 16 individuals killed in yesterday's plane crash in Mississippi, seven were North Carolina Marine Raiders based right here at Camp Lejeune. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, as well as the Marines they served alongside. Danger and sacrifice are inherent to the jobs carried out by our service members, and this tragedy is a reminder that they serve at home and abroad every minute of every day.
Kristen and I, along with millions of North Carolinians and Americans, honor the service and sacrifice of these brave individuals and their families."
Don Herring represents the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee as chairman.
"Just days ago, these individuals were in our community, in our churches and shopping centers and all with their families, and they left and went to their routin military duty,
Herring said. "There was nothing routine about this."