2018 Navy, Marine Corps On-Duty Deaths

December 28, 2018 12:09 PM

The following names are those of Marines and sailors who died in 2018 while at sea, in combat or during training accidents, according to USNI News records and Navy and Marine Corps reports.

Cpl. Alejandro Romero, USMC
Bravo Company, 3rd RECON, 3rd MARDIV, III MEF
Jan. 22

Marine Corps Cpl. Alejandro Romero.

Romero, 22, was training at the Multi-Mission Parachute Course in Arizona when his main canopy failed to fully deploy on his the exit from the aircraft.

He was unable to completely cut away the main canopy and his reserve parachute was unable to completely open before he hit the ground, according to an NCIS investigation following the accident. He was evacuated to a nearby hospital and was declared dead an hour after he left the aircraft.

Romero served as a reconnaissance scout with the Okinawa-based 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

He was buried in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., after friends and family raised $20,000 to have him buried closer to home, according to a report in The Daily Breeze.

Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli, USN
The “Stingers” of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267
Feb. 21

Lt. James E. Mazzuchelli, photo via US Marine Corps

Mazzuchelli, 32, was struck by the tail rotor of a UH-1Y Venom on the flight line at Camp Pendleton, Calif., during a training exercise.

The Florida native was a flight surgeon for the squadron and had recently completed crew training to take on additional roles in the squadron, his stepfather David Cheers told the Orange County Register.

Following his death on Feb. 24, Mazzuchelli’s organs were donated to four recipients who had been waiting for transplants.

“James told us he wanted to be an organ donor,” Cheers told the paper. “He donated his heart, kidneys and liver. We know that James lives in other people now. If you give someone a heart, it changes their lives forever.”

Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, USN
Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King, USN

The “Black Lions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213
March 14

Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King. US Navy Photos

Johnson and King were training off the coast of Florida with their squadron and elements of Carrier Air Wing 8 when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on approach to Naval Air Station Key West Boca Chica Airfield.

The plane crashed in shallow water near the airfield after witnesses reported seeing a fireball int he sky.

“Johnson, a Naval Aviator and 2007 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, was piloting the jet when the incident occurred while King, a 2012 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was serving as the Weapons Systems Operator,” read a statement from Naval Air Forces Atlantic at the time.

According to a summary of the incident from the Navy Safety Center, the “F/A-18F while flying single engine, crashed on short final. 2 fatalities.”

Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, USMC
1st Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, USMC
Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, USMC
Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad, USMC
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465, the “Warhorse”
April 3

(From Top left) Capt. Samuel Schultz, First Lt. Samuel Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad

The four Marines were aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter when it crashed about 15 miles west of El Centro, Calif., during a routine training mission:

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.

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 HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003 and had been stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico and MCAS Miramar.

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 Marines have not yet released details of the subsequent investigation.

Lt. Christopher Carey Short
The “Fighting Omars” of Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC) 12
June 22

Lt. Christopher Short

Short, 32, was a career F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilot who was assigned as part of a multi-service evaluation team for a light-attack aircraft program for the U.S. Air Force.

He was piloting an Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano A-29 over White Sand’s Red Rio Bombing Range when his prop-driven light-attack aircraft crashed about 1:30 p.m. EST. Both Short and a second crewmember ejected from the aircraft. Short died shortly after the crash, and the second crewmember suffered minor injuries.

Results from the investigation have yet to be released by the Air Force.

The Canandaigua, N.Y., native was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His wife was expecting the couple’s first child when he died.

Ens. Sarah Mitchell, USN
USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109)
July 8

Ens. Sarah Mitchell, 23, of Feasterville, Penn. US Navy Photo

Mitchell, 23, died following an accident during a small boat operation in the Red Sea. The ship was part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group that had deployed in April from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Mitchell graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2017 and reported to the destroyer on June 5, 2017, according to her Navy biography.

She was buried in Bensalem, Pa., in July. In November, Mitchell’s name was added to the Ut Prosim Pylon by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, a memorial at the Blacksburg, Va., campus honoring students and alumni killed in the line of duty.

AWS1 Jonathan Clement, USN
The “Firehawks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85
July 30

AWS1 Jonathan Clement, USN

Clement, 31, was injured during training at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., when an auxiliary fuel tank fell off the HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter he was inspecting. Clement and another sailor were struck by the tank. Clement died from head injuries sustained in the accident.

Clement, from Vero Beach, Fla., joined the Navy in June 2007. After going through basic special warfare training and aviation and air technical training, he served in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 out of Atsugi, Japan; Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.; and HSC 85. Clement was promoted to the rank of Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class in October 2016.

He was buried in Vero Beach on Aug. 18.

Cpl. Jonathan Currier, USMC
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166, the “SeaElk”
Aug. 9

Cpl. Jonathan Currier, USMC

Currier, 21, was assigned to the air combat element of 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was embarked aboard USS Essex (LHD-2) and deployed in mid-July.

On Aug. 9 he failed to show up to an accountability check when the Essex Amphibious Ready Group was operating in the Sulu Sea near the Philippines. That kicked off an extensive five-day search effort, with search teams covering more than 13,000 square nautical miles with more than 110 sorties and 300 flight hours. The search concluded Aug. 13.

Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
Aug. 19

Then-Ens. Asante McCalla from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) works with Sri Lankan Marines to repair levees in Matara, Sri Lanka, June 12, 2017, during humanitarian assistance operations in the wake of severe flooding and landslides that devastated many regions of the country. US Navy photo

McCalla, 24, failed to report to duty on Aug. 19 aboard the guided-missile cruiser Lake Erie operating off the coast of Southern California, prompting a search for the missing sailor.

Seven U.S. Navy ships, along with aircraft from the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, contributed to the search of more than 16,550 square nautical miles of open water, according to a Navy statement.

McCalla was declared lost at sea on Aug. 23.

“I joined the Navy to serve for those that cannot fight or are not able, so that when I am not able to fight, someone will fight for me,” McCalla said after his 2012 graduation from Morehouse University and commissioning into the service. “I plan to make a 20-year career out of the Navy and one day I would like to be the [commanding officer] of a ship.”

Airman Apprentice Joseph Min Naglak
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
Sept. 17

Naglak, 21, was working on the flight deck of Bush when he was struck by the propeller of an E-2C Hawkeye after he secured the plane to the deck. The carrier was conducting flight operations qualifications at the time.

The New Jersey native had been part of the ship’s company since completing training in Pensacola, Fla. He enlisted in 2017.

He was buried in Newtown, Pa.

Lt. Col. Kevin Herrman, USMC
Maj. James Brophy, USMC
Staff Sgt. Maximo Flores, USMC
Cpl. Daniel Baker, USMC
Cpl. William Ross, USMC
The “Sumos” of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152
Capt. Jahmar Resilard, USMC
The “Bats” of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA(AW)-242)
Dec. 6

Capt. Jahmar Resilard, USMC

During night-time aerial refueling training, a KC-130J assigned to VMGR-152 and an F/A-18D Hornet with VMFA-242 crashed 200 miles off the coast of Japan around 2 a.m. local time.

Rescuers were able to recover pilot Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28, who was transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead. The Hornet’s weapon system officer was also recovered and survived the crash.

After the recovery of the Hornet crew, U.S., Japanese and Australian ships and aircraft continued to look for the KC-130J crew. The international force searched more than 35,000 square miles of ocean for a combined 800 hours and were unable to find the crew.

(From top left, clockwise) Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, Maj. James M. Brophy, Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, Cpl. Daniel E. Baker and Cpl. William C. Ross

Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann served 16 years in the Marine Corps. His decorations include the Air Medal with twenty-four Strike Flight Awards, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel posthumously.

Maj. James M. Brophy served 12 years in the Marine Corps. His decorations include the Air Medal with two Strike Flight Awards, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores served nine years in the Marine Corps. His decorations include one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star. He is survived by his wife.

Cpl. Daniel E. Baker served two years in the Marine Corps. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He is survived by his mother and father.

Cpl. William C. Ross served two years in the Marine Corps. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He is survived by his mother and father.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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