Family Identifies Pilot Killed in F-18 Crash - NBC New York
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Family Identifies Pilot Killed in F-18 Crash



    Family Identifies Pilot Killed in F-18 Crash
    Phil Myers
    Pilot Taj Sareen.

    The pilot of a U.S. Marine Corps F-18 was killed Wednesday when the plane crashed near a British air base in eastern England, U.S. and British officials said.

    The U.S. Embassy in London confirmed the death of the pilot, identified by his sister as Taj Sareen, 34.

    Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego confirmed Maj. Sareen was a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, stationed at the California base. The Hillsborough, California, native was commissioned with the Marines in 2005.

    His sister and mother are too devastated at this time to offer further comment. No other casualties were reported.

    The plane was an F-18C Hornet from Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 232 based in the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, the Marine Corps said. The jet was one of six going from Bahrain to Miramar when it went down six miles near Lakenheath airfield in eastern England, it added.

    Cambridgeshire Fire Services said the plane crashed on farm land in Redmere in Cambridgeshire, about 7 miles from Lakenheath.

    MCAS Miramar officials say Sareen was returning home with his squadron after a six-month deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.'s effort to combat the Islamic State.

    He was deployed as part of a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response - Central Command 15.2.

    Previously, he went to Afghanistan in 2010 with Operation Enduring Freedom, and he served as an instructor at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101.

    His personal awards include one Air Medal - Strike/Flight "5" and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Marines of Maj. Sareen, and we are currently providing support to those affected by this tragic incident," said Maj. Gen. Michael A. Rocco, commanding general of 3rd MAW.

    The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

    The twin-engine F-18 comes in single-seat and two-seat versions.

    A year ago, a U.S. Air Force F-15 crashed in a field near the air base. The pilot was not seriously hurt.

    In January 2014 four U.S. Air Force crew members based at Lakenheath died when their helicopter hit a flock of geese and crashed during a training mission.