What to Know
- All 16 people aboard died when the military refueling plane crashed into a field in rural Mississippi Monday
- Fifteen Marines and a Navy corpsman were on board the KC-130 plane that spiraled and crashed into a soybean field
- The plane was based out of VMGR-452, the reserve squadron stationed at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh
The remains of the 20-year-old Marine from New Jersey killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi earlier this month have returned home.
A hearse carrying the remains of Daniel Baldassare arrived at the Clayton & McGirr Funeral Home in Freehold Township from the Air Force base in Delaware Monday morning.
An honor guard of Marines, flanked by veterans, moved his casket into the funeral home as a crowd of dozens, mostly strangers, watched in respectful silence under the gray skies.
Funeral services are set for Tuesday at his alma mater, Colts Neck High School. He will be buried at the Doyle New Jersey Veterans Cemetery in Arneytown.
Baldassare was among the 16 people killed in a plane crash that spewed debris for miles on July 10. The 15 Marines and single Navy corpsman were headed to Yuma, Arizona, for pre-deployment training when the KC-130 transport plane, based out of the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, went down in a soybean field, authorities said.
Baldassare was born in Manhattan and grew up in Colts Neck, where he was a high school football player for four years before enlisting in the Marines during his senior year of high school, according to his obituary.
He had recently been promoted to the rank of corporal.
"Dan found his solace driving while listening to country music and Bible verses," his obituary reads. "His interests included playing the ukelele and harmonica, and riding his skateboard. Daniel had a connection to the ocean, and loved going to the beach with family and friends, especially Long Beach Island and Manasquan Beach. A powerful presence, he could always rally the troops."
Baldassare is survived by his parents and his sister.
"He was a good son, a good brother and very proud to be a Marine," neighbor Eileen Dial told News 4.
Two other Marines with local ties were also killed in the crash: Owen Lennon, a 26-year-old Marine from Pomona, New York, and Julian Kevianne, a 31-year-old Detroit native who lived in New Windsor, New York, with his family, were also based at Stewart.
The crash was the deadliest Marine Corps air disaster since 2005, when a transport helicopter went down during a sandstorm in Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a sailor.