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FAST Marine Killed in Camp Lejeune Super Stallion Hard Landing Identified

Marines with the 31st MEU fast rope from a CH-53, similar to training conducted at Camp Lejeune before Wednesday's hard landing. US Marine Corps Photo

Marines with the 31st MEU fast rope from a CH-53, similar to training conducted at Camp Lejeune before Wednesday’s hard landing. US Marine Corps Photo

A Marine that was killed during a the hard landing of a Sikorsky CH-53E late Wednesday at Camp Lejeune, N.C. was identified on Friday.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, 31, assigned to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company B Marine Corps Security Force Regiment at Camp Allen in Yorktown, Va., died “while conducting Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) training in a landing zone at Stone Bay,” according to a Friday statement from II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF).

The HRST training teaches Marines to fast rope and rappel from everyone of the services helicopter. Lewis was inside the Super Stallion during the hard landing.
“[HRST] requires the highest caliber Marine, with the dedication and courage

to take on the challenge as Staff Sgt. Lewis did,” said Col. Jeffrey Kenney, officer in charge of the Expeditionary Operations Training Group during a press conference at Camp Lejeune.

The Marines are now conducting an investigation into the Super Stallion’s hard landing.

The following is the complete Sept. 4, 2015 statement from II MEF.

*** MEDIA ADVISORY***

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Staff Sgt. Jonathan E. Lewis, 31, of
Fauquier, Va., died on the evening of Sept. 2, when a CH-53E Super Stallion
Helicopter belonging to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, Marine Aircraft
Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing experienced a hard landing while conducting
Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) training in a landing zone at
Stone Bay, a satellite training area aboard Camp Lejeune, N. C.

Staff Sgt. Lewis was assigned to Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST),
Company B, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, in Yorktown, Va. Lewis
joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and served in the communications field as a
radio chief.

“We are deeply saddened at the loss of one our students and fellow Marines,”
said Col. Jeffrey Kenney, officer in charge of the Expeditionary Operations
Training Group during the press conference today. “Our thoughts and prayers
are with his family and friends as we all mourn this tragic loss of life.”

Throughout his career, Lewis deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit,
served in Bahrain, and served aboard the USS Rushmore.

“[HRST] requires the highest caliber Marine, with the dedication and courage
to take on the challenge as Staff Sgt. Lewis did,” Kenney added.

His awards include: the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, two Navy
Meritorious Unit Commendation medals, three Marine Corps Good Conduct medals,
National Defense Service medal, Iraq Campaign medal, Global War on Terrorism
Expeditionary medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, Humanitarian
Service medal, and three Sea Service ribbons.

II Marine Expeditionary Force stands with Lewis’ family in support as we mourn
the loss of our brother.

Categories: News & Analysis
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.