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Marine Corps News 04/09/2000

MV-22 AIRCRAFT MISHAP CLAIMS LIVES OF 19 MARINES

By Division of Public Affairs

HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 9) -- Marine Corps officials are expressing condolences to the families of 19 Marines killed approximately 8 p.m. on April 8 when an MV-22 Osprey crashed near Marana, Ariz.

Killed in the accident were:

Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28, a machinegunner assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Uvalde, Texas.

Maj. John A. Brow, 39, a pilot assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron-1, of California, Md.

Pfc. Class Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21, a machinegunner assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Picher, Okla.

Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23, a machinegunner assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of San Antonio.

Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28, a machinegunner assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Sacramento, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27, an assaultman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of San Diego.

Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34, pilot assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron-1, of Jacksonville, N.C.

Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18, an assaultman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Bend, Ore.

2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24, a platoon commander assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Clifton Bosque, Texas.

Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22, aircraft crew chief assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron-1, of Florence, S.C.

Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21, a field radio operator assigned to Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38, of Coconino, Ariz.

Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21, an assaultman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of McAllen, Texas.

Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Winthrop, Wash.

Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30, an aerial observer/mechanic assigned to Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron-204, of Richmond, Va.

Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Houston.

Pfc. George P. Santos, 19, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Long Beach, Calif.

Pfc. Keoki P. Santos, 24, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Grand Ronde, Ore.

Cpl. Can Soler, 21, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Palm City, Fla.

Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19, a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, of Brownwood, Texas.

"The entire Marine Corps family grieves for the Marines we've lost in this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families," said Gen. James Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps. "We have sent an expert team to Arizona to quickly investigate the circumstances surrounding this mishap."

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig released the following statement, "Evaluating new equipment and training for war, like war itself, puts life at risk. In peace and war, Marines accept that risk - it is a bond between us. In that spirit, we grieve today for our nineteen lost Marines and embrace their families."

The MV-22 was conducting a training mission in support of Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) when it went down near Marana, Ariz. During the mission, the crew and Marines conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) exercises as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, with Marines embarking and disembarking the aircraft. The mission was conducted at night utilizing night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared radar to enhance night operational capability.

Operational Evaluation is a test phase to determine the operational suitability of the aircraft for the Marine Corps. It began in October 1999 and is scheduled to conclude in June 2000.

To date, the four Ospreys involved in Operational Evaluation have completed more than 800 flight hours. During March, the OPEVAL aircraft flew nearly 140 flight hours, an average of 35 hours per aircraft.

The mishap aircraft was part of the Multi-service Operational Test Team, based at Patuxent River, Md., but was temporarily attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

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