Five Missing Marines Declared Dead After KC-130 Crash Off Japan

Bullet Points

Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Hercules who have been missing since a Dec. 6 crash have been declared dead, ending search and rescue operations, Corps officials have announced.


  • “Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by US, Japanese, and Australian forces during the search,” Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force, said in a news release.
  • The families of all five Marines have been notified, a Marine Corps news release says. The Defense Department announces the names of service members killed 24 hours after next of kin notification.
  • A total of six Marines were killed in the Dec. 6 crash. In addition to the Marines on the KC-130, a Marine aviator aboard an F/A-18D Hornet died when the two planes went down about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard was an F/A-18 pilot assigned to Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
  • The two planes were flying a training exercise at the time of the crash, the news release says. Investigators have not yet determined if the crash happened during the aerial refueling part of the exercise.
  • The KC-130 was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (call sign "Sumo"), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, the Marine Corps news release says.
  • "All of us in the Sumo family are extremely saddened following the announcement of the conclusion of search and rescue operations," squadron commander Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury said in the news release. “We know this difficult decision was made after all resources were exhausted in the vigorous search for our Marines. Our thoughts are heavy and our prayers are with all family and friends of all five aircrew.”

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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