Helicopter Crash in California Claims Lives of 5 Marines

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The Marine Corps confirmed that five Marines died in a helicopter crash near San Diego. The helicopter, a CH-53E Super Stallion, was flying from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego on a routine training flight when it was reported overdue. The military did not confirm the deaths of the Marines until early Thursday after a search and rescue operation located the helicopter in Pine Valley. Search teams combed the area amidst bad weather conditions that included snow and low clouds.

The Marines on board were part of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, the Marine Aircraft Group 16, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Major General Michael J. Borgschulte expressed condolences to the Marines’ families, stating that he was sharing the news of the fatalities with “a heavy heart and profound sadness.” President Biden also expressed his condolences and said that he and the first lady were “heartbroken” over the loss.

The CH-53E Super Stallion, which has been in operation since 1981, is used to carry heavy loads such as vehicles, cargo, and personnel and has been involved in various crashes in training and war. The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, and as the Marine Corps investigates the deadly crash, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said it is a reminder of the selfless service members who put their lives on the line every day to keep the country safe.

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