5 Marines Killed in California Helo Crash

February 8, 2024 8:35 AM
Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, conducts an external lift during a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation as part of Exercise Steel Knight 23.2 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, Dec. 2, 2023. US Marine Corps Photo

The five Marines who were missing following a Feb. 6, helicopter crash in a U.S. National Forest in California were found dead, the service announced on Thursday.

The Marines were assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Heavy Helicopter (HMH) Squadron 361 and were aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter on its way to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., when the helicopter went down.

“It is with a heavy heart and a profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commander Maj. Gen. Borgschulte said in a Thursday statement. “To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time.”

The CH-53E was flying from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., over the Cleveland National Forest through heavy weather. The search began after the helicopter was late arriving to Miramar. The crashed Super Stallion was found in Pine Valley about 50 miles east of San Diego.

The service and local officials are now working to recover the bodies of the missing Marines and the remains of the helicopter.

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.
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