Home » Aviation » UPDATED: Search Expands for Missing Marine After F/A-18 Crash


UPDATED: Search Expands for Missing Marine After F/A-18 Crash

A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet operating near Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif., March 29, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo

A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet operating near Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif., March 29, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo

This post was updated with an additional information from U.S. Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller and III MEF.

Searchers looking for the Marine pilot of an F/A-18 Hornet that crashed on Wednesday off Japan have expanded their search area, III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement Wednesday evening. 

“The bilateral search and rescue efforts continued through the night with the U.S. military working closely with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force,” reads the statement from III MEF.

Additional assets are being tasked to look for the missing Marine.

The fighter – assigned to Okinawa-based 1st Marine Aircraft Wing– was operating about 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan, when the pilot ejected at about 6:40 p.m., an earlier statement said.

“The aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled training at the time of the mishap. The cause of the incident is under investigation,” the statement said.

The crash of the 1st MAW Hornet follows a string of Marine F/A-18 crashes in the last year, as the service has struggled with readiness in its tactical aviation fleet.

U.S. Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller told reporters at the U.S. Naval Institute’s Defense Forum Washington that the rate of Marine aviation mishaps was higher than last year but “not statistically off the wall.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s good news, particularly on what happened to… the pilot,” he said.
“Not exactly what I wanted to hear when I got up this morning. I’m hoping we recover him or her.”

In November, two Hornets crashed during a training mission over California. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 has lost three Hornets in crashes over the past year and a fourth Hornet from the Blue Angels squadron was lost in a fatal crash this summer.

  • CyburneticTiger9

    Your article has a huge error, the Marine Corps does not base fixed wing aircraft in Okinawa. This aircraft is based in Iwakuni a town outside of Hiroshima.

    • The headline was wrong and was corrected with the latest. In the story, we referred to 1 MAW’s HQ in Okinawa.

      • CyburneticTiger9

        I apologize if I sounded rude. I just wanted to let you know.

        I also wanted to mention it because other media sources like to twist anything military related to give the Anti-US Military minority in Okinawa any fuel for their fire.

    • Craig Martin

      Not to be a pain, but VMGR-152 (KC-130) is indeed stationed at Futenma. Spent many years flying out of there….;)

      • Chad Johnsen

        The VMGR moved to Iwakuni over two years ago.

        • Craig Martin

          You’re certainly correct Chad, but it has been my understanding that there is a “permanent” det. of 152 remaining..Maybe I’m just showing my age..

    • Chad Johnsen

      CyberneticTiger9 is correct, the VMGR relocated to Iwakuni over two years ago.

  • Richard Burgan

    The F18 is based at Iwakuni. But the USMC releases information from HQ Camp Butler in Okinawa. That confuses the public who now think two planes based in Okinawa have crashed. People will now focus on how unsafe the Marines are and use this to demand that they leave Okinawa. So, the USMC PIO is just being stupid as usual.

    Let’s all hope that both pilots are quickly rescued. And, the causes of both crashes are identified and used to make the future safer.

    • Exactly, I made a mistake in the headline.

  • 1coolguy

    ” I’m hoping we recover him or her.” The USMC COMMANDANT was not informed of the pilots’ name and gender? That seems odd the head guy would not be fully informed.

    • Paul

      He absolutely knows. He is probably being deliberately vague about the the pilot’s identity until the family of the pilot is notified.

    • Maryland_bound

      The Commandant knows but it is a small community and he will not release the name until the family is notified and given 24 hours to notify other family members

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Hopefully help is on the way for the state of Marine aviation,,

  • No recent updates?

  • Anonymous

    https://twitter.com/IIIMEF/status/806964588163891200 1st MAW confirmed that Capt. Jake Frederick was recovered and pronounced deceased.