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3 Marines ID'd in Deadly Crash of NY-Based Military Plane; More Victims' Names Expected Wednesday

The crash that killed 15 Marines and a Navy corpsman in Mississippi Monday was the deadliest Marine Corps air disaster since 2005

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

Two Marines who grew up in the tri-state, and a third Marine who lived in New York, have been identified after they were killed earlier this week when their New York-based military plane crashed in Mississippi. 

Dan Baldassarem, Owen Lennon and Julian Kevianne were among the 16 people killed in Monday's crash. All of the victims were based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.

Baldassarem was a 20-year-old Marine from Colts Neck, New Jersey. He was a hometown athlete who talked of joining the military early on. 

"He was a good son, a good brother and very proud to be a Marine," said neighbor Eileen Dial.

Lennon was a 26-year-old Marine from Pomona, New York. His neighbors were stunned to hear of his death. 

"This shouldn't happen to anybody, especially people — especially people as nice as the Lennons," said neighbor Jeff Scheer through tears. 

Kevianne, a 31-year-old Marine, was a Detroit native who lived in New Windsor, New York, with his family. 

Fifteen Marines and a Navy sailor were killed Monday in a plane crash that spewed debris for miles, authorities said. They were headed to Yuma, Arizona, for pre-deployment training when the KC-130 transport plane, based out of New York, went down in a soybean field. 

Authorities said it had some sort of problem at cruise altitude, but an exact cause of the crash remains under investigation. No criminality is suspected. With debris scattered for miles across the flat countryside of the Mississippi Delta, federal and local officials may be combing soybean fields for up to a week for clues, a sheriff said Wednesday.

Several bouquets were left at the main gate of Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, where the plane was based. Officials said some of those killed were from the base, but Stewart was closed to reporters and did not issue a statement. 

"We're feeling the pain that everybody else is," Robert Brush said after dropping off three pots of red, white and blue petunias. He works for a landscaping company that serves the base. 

Military officials said they planned to release the names of the victims at a news briefing Wednesday. 

"While the identities of my Marines whose lives were lost in this accident are still being withheld, I request we respect their loved ones' privacy in the days immediately after the identities of our deceased Marines are publicly disclosed," said Marine Lt. Col. Joshua E. Izenour, the commander of Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron 452.

Witnesses said they heard low, rumbling explosions when the plane was still high in the sky over Mississippi on Monday. They said they saw the aircraft spiraling toward the flat, green landscape and spotted an apparently empty parachute floating toward the earth.

It 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. 

The crash happened outside the small town of Itta Bena about 85 miles north of the state capital of Jackson. Bodies were found more than a mile from the plane. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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