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Air Force, Marine Corps Mourn 5 Service Members Killed In Recent Air Crashes
The Air Force and Marine Corps have identified the five service members killed in separate aircraft crashes on April 3 and April 4.
Air Force Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, a pilot with the Thunderbirds demonstration squadron, died on April 4 when his F-16 crashed during a training flight over the Nevada Test and Training range.
“We are mourning the loss of Maj. Del Bagno,” Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander, said Thursday in a statement. “He was an integral part of our team and our hearts are heavy with his loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”
Four Marines assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 were killed on April 3, when their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed near El Centro, California, during a training mission.
Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, 28, was a pilot. Originally from Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, he joined the Marine Corps in May 2012 and went on to deploy with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
First Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, 27, was also a pilot. A native of Pinehurst, North Carolina, he joined the Marine Corps in August 2013.
Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, 33, was a crew chief. He came from Dayton, Ohio, and joined the Marine Corps in November 2003. During his time in the Corps, he deployed to Iraq twice, went to Okinawa as part of the Unit Deployment Program, and deployed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad, 24, also served as a crew chief. He was originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he joined the Marine Corps in May 2016.
“The hardest part of being a Marine is the tragic loss of life of a fellow brother-in-arms,” Col. Craig Leflore, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 16, said Thursday in a statement. “My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of Capt. Samuel Shultz, 1st Lt. Samuel Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, and Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad.
“These ‘Warhorse’ Marines brought joy and laughter to so many around them. They each served honorably, wore the uniform proudly and were a perfect example of what makes our Marine Corps great — its people! They will forever be in our hearts and minds.”
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.