16 Dead Identified in Military Plane Crash in Mississippi

In this photo provided by Jimmy Taylor, smoke and flames rise into the air after a military transport airplane crashed in a field near Itta Bena, Miss., on the western edge of Leflore County, Monday, July 10, 2017, killing several. (Jimmy Taylor via AP)

This week, the military suffered one of its worst aviation accidents in recent years.   16 American service members died on Monday after their transport plane broke up in midair and plummeted into the Mississippi Delta. On Thursday, the bodies were taken to another transport plane, this one bound for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where military officials planned to process and prepare the remains.  Fifteen Marines and one sailor died in the crash, and the military publicly identified the victims today.

Stewart Air National Guard Base Nine of the crash victims were members of a Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron based in Newburgh, N.Y.

Cpl. Daniel I. Baldassare | When the 20-year-old crewmaster of the transport plane was a child playing football in Colts Neck, N.J., he made clear that he wanted to be a Marine: Corporal Baldassare, a friend told a television station, would bring military gloves to practice. And on his Twitter account this month, he wrote about how he missed boot camp.

Capt. Sean E. Elliott | His call sign was “Puffin,” and as a child he imagined himself behind the controls of C-130s.  Captain Elliott, 30, would carry a model of one of the enormous planes to bed when he was young. On Monday, he was one of the pilots of the plane that crashed, a KC-130T, one of many variants of the C-130.

Maj. Caine M. Goyette | He was the highest-ranking Marine on the flight and had been in the military since 1994. He was an aircraft commander who served three overseas deployments, the most recent of which ended in 2014.

Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hopkins | A Marine from Chesapeake, Va., he was “one of the calmest, most easygoing, zen people in any walk of life,” said Russ Hardin, a former Marine sergeant who served as a navigator in the squadron. “He didn’t know how not to be a friend,” Mr. Hardin said, recalling that Sergeant Hopkins preferred fishing, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving to the barhopping habits of others troops posted to Japan.

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan C. Johnson | Sergeant Johnson, 46, was approaching the end of his career and was planning retirement and a possible move to Montana, his wife’s home state. His father said that the sergeant had joined the Marines after studying fine arts in Vermont, and that his grandfather and father-in-law were military veterans.

Sgt. Julian M. Kevianne | Sergeant Kevianne spoke of joining the military long before he became a flight engineer. He enlisted in 2009, and the sergeant, 31, could be reserved at first, but that he could ultimately become “a loud blast of fun.” He was married and lived in New Windsor, N.Y.

Sgt. Owen J. Lennon | In his life before the Marine Corps, Sergeant Lennon, 26, was a football and tennis player who imagined a career in criminal justice. But once he was in the military, his mother told a Pomona, N.Y., neighbor, Jeff Scheer, he picked up an interest in mechanics and intended to work in aviation mechanics after finishing his service.

Cpl. Collin J. Schaaff | He entered the Marine Corps nearly four years ago and was promoted to corporal in December 2015. Corporal Schaaff was an aircraft ordnance technician from Pierce, Wash.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden | By the time Sergeant Snowden, 31, graduated from high school in 2004, he had already enlisted in the Marine Corps. His Facebook page made his Texas pride plain, and the sergeant, a flight engineer, was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

Camp Lejeune, N.C. Six of the Marines and the sailor were from an elite Marine Raider battalion based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Staff Sgt. Robert H. Cox | In a Marine Corps career that began 10 years ago this month, the sergeant was deployed overseas four times, according to the military. He was a critical skills operator from Ventura, Calif.

Staff Sgt. William Kundrat | Sergeant Kundrat, a father of two who married in 2004, joined the Marine Corps after high school. An Eagle Scout and football and lacrosse player in Maryland, he completed a tour of duty in Iraq and later joined a unit of Marine Special Operations Command, according to his mom.  He was 33.

Sgt. Chad E. Jenson | He was a critical skills operator who joined the Marine Corps from Los Angeles and made sergeant in 2014.

Sgt. Talon R. Leach | The military said that the sergeant, who was from Callaway, Mo., deployed abroad last year as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State. He joined the military in 2010.

Petty Officer Second Class Ryan Lohrey | The only sailor aboard Monday’s flight, the Navy corpsman enlisted after finishing high school in Middletown, Ind., and later served in two combat theaters overseas. His father said that his son had intended to go into nursing after his military career. The petty officer, who married in early June and had two children, had been awarded the Purple Heart.

FROM JACKSONVILLE ,FLORIDA:  Sgt. Joseph J. Murray | A son of veterans, Sergeant Murray had long disavowed any interest in the military, but he surprised his family when, toward the end of high school, he announced his plans to join the Marines. He was a husband and a father of four children, none of them older than 5, and his Christian faith was central to his life. His father said that Sergeant Murray, of the Jacksonville, Fla., area, was known for humming praise and worship songs while on patrol — and that when he would go quiet, “they took the safeties off their weapons because they all immediately thought something was up.”

Sgt. Dietrich A. Schmieman | He signed up for the Marines at 19 with an ambition to serve in special operations, his father said, and he served in a reconnaissance unit before joining the elite Raider command about two years ago. He was 26 and raised in Washington State before a military career that included two overseas deployments.

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