Cousin of dead pilot says Marine followed dream
Capt. Alberto N. Bencosme's cousin spoke as investigators tried to determine what sent the AV-8B Harrier jet into died when the single-seat fighter went down at approximately 12:30 p.m. Monday near the Marine Corps' Cherry Point air station. Bencosme was a member of Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, based at Cherry Point.Posted — Updated
The Marine Corps said Capt. Alberto N. Bencosme died when the single-seat fighter went down at approximately 12:30 p.m. Monday near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. He had been awarded his captain's bars on Dec. 1.
Bencosme was a member of Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, based at Cherry Point.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation Wednesday. Officials said a cockpit warning light had shown the Harrier's canopy, the clear shell over the cockpit, might not be completely latched, and Bencosme was returning to have that checked. The Marines did not link the warning light to the crash, however.
Bencosme, whose age the Marine Corps would not disclose, was 27, according to his cousin, who spoke with WNCT-TV in Greenville.
He was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to the U.S. as a youth and joined the service out of gratitude to his adopted country, the cousin, H.L. Peralta, told WNCT-TV. He always wanted to fly, Peralta said.
The Harrier was considered accident prone in its original configuration, but has overcome that reputation in current models.
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