The Marines have identified the pilot who died following a Wednesday fighter crash in England.
Maj. Taj Sareen, 34, died after his F/A-18C Hornet crashed a few miles away from the RAF Lakenheath airbase, according to the late Thursday release from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Sareen was assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. and was returning home after a six-month deployment in the Middle East as part of the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria strike missions — Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Marines of Maj. Sareen, and we are currently providing support to those affected by this tragic incident,” said Maj. Gen. Michael A. Rocco, commanding general of 3rd MAW said in a statement.
Sareen was originally from Hillsborough, Calif. and commissioned in 2005. He had deployed with the VMFA-232 in 2010 to Afghanistan and has also served as a flight instructor with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFAT) 101.
The crashed Hornet was one of six aircraft in transit from Bahrain to Miramar and local press reports allege the aircraft were in the midst of refueling when the accident occurred.
The other five Hornets safely diverted following the crash and its cause is currently under investigation.
The following is the complete Oct. 22, 2015 statement from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing on the identifying Maj. Taj Sarren.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., (Oct. 22, 2015) – A 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing pilot died when his F/A-18C Hornet crashed in the vicinity of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, at approximately 2:30 a.m. (PDT), Wednesday.
Maj. Taj Sareen, a pilot in Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. died as a result of the crash. Sareen was deployed as part of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command 15.2 and was returning with his squadron after their six-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Marines of Maj. Sareen, and we are currently providing support to those affected by this tragic incident,” said Maj. Gen. Michael A. Rocco, commanding general of 3rd MAW.
Sareen, 34, a native of Hillsborough, Calif., commissioned in the Marine Corps Feb. 13, 2005. He previously deployed with VMFA-232 to Afghanistan in 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was an instructor at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 101.
His personal awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and one Air Medal – Strike/Flight “5.”
The cause of crash is under investigation