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Marine Corps Identifies 4 Aircrew Killed in CH-53E Crash in California

The Marine Corps identified four Marines killed on Tuesday in a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash near El Centro, Calif. The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“The loss of our Marines weighs heavy on our hearts,” Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW, said in a statement.
“Our priority is to provide support for our families and HMH-465 during this critical time.”

The four Marines killed in the crash were Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, First Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley and Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad.

Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, 28, of Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, was a pilot
assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2012. US Marine Corps photo.

Capt. Samuel Schultz, 28, of Huntington Valley, Pa., was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2012 and had one deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He had previously been stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida; Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; and MCAS New River, North Carolina.

First Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, 27, of Pinehurst, North Carolina, was a pilot
assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465. He joined the Marine Corps in August 2013. US Marine Corps photo.

First Lt. Samuel Phillips, 27, of Pinehurst, N.C., was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in August 2013 and was also previously stationed at NAS Pensacola, NAS Corpus Christi and MCAS New River.

Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, 33, of Dayton, Ohio, was a CH-53 helicopter
crew chief assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003. US Marine Corps photo.

Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, 33, of Dayton, Ohio, was a CH-53 helicopter crew chief assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003 and had been stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico and MCAS Miramar. He deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, once to Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, and once with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Holley’s personal awards consist of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4th award), Air Medal-Strike/Flight (9th award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4th award).

Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad, 24, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a CH-53
helicopter crew chief assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465. Conrad joined the Marine Corps in May 2016. US Marine Corps photo.

Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad, 24, of Baton Rouge, La., was a CH-53 helicopter crew chief assigned to HMH-465. Conrad joined the Marine Corps in May 2016.

“The hardest part of being a Marine is the tragic loss of life of a fellow brother-in-arms,” Col. Craig Leflore, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 16, said in the Marine Corps statement.
““My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of Capt. Samuel Shultz, 1st Lt. Samuel Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, and Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad. These ‘Warhorse’ Marines brought joy and laughter to so many around them. They each served honorably, wore the uniform proudly and were a perfect example of what makes our Marine Corps great – its people. They will forever be in our hearts and minds.”

The helicopter crashed about 15 miles west of El Centro around 2:30 p.m. during a routine training mission, the Marine Corps announced yesterday. The crew was conducting training for “aircraft landings in unimproved zones,” and the Marine Corps has not commented on the circumstances of the crash, citing a pending investigation.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    It’s just not fair sometimes! God Bless these men. May their families and loved ones soon find peace and comfort.

  • Bubblehead

    Marines need to shut this Helo down until the K’s arrive. They are worn down tired birds that are too dangerous. The soldiers, airmen & sailors are paying the price in blood for the sequester which has shortchanged the military of the money needed for maintenance & practice.

    Marines are going to museums to find parts to fly their F18’s. What is it? Less than 20% USMC F18’s are able to fly & fight at any given time? Average age of a US fighter is approaching 30 years. Navy ships are bypassing much needed maintenance & training to stay at sea because there are not enough ships. This seeps down to the fleet being ill prepared, over worked, not trained properly and accidents like the Fitz & McCain happen. Sailors are having to go on 9 month deployments instead of the normal 6 months. This not only wears the ships down faster, shortening their maintenance periods but it demoralizes the crews. Side effect, shortage of recruits and/or lowering standards to fill the bills. How many fighter pilots is the USAF & USN short?

    And god bless those soldiers and families that were on that helo.

  • Doc Andrews

    Sad

  • Kenneth Millstein

    Seeing those young faces makes me want to cry.

  • Mu’ammar Abdur-Rashid

    Very sad, thank you for your service. Fair winds and following Seas.

  • Leon

    These CH-53s have been falling out the sky for years. I remember while on active duty in Alameda from 2001-2004 one went down off the coast. There’s been many more. Too heavy to fly with the engines, too old, whatever, they should be scrapped! Use the Army’s heavy lifter.