Iwakuni Marines honor lost KC-130J aircrew with memorial service, flyover
By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 14, 2018
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — A single KC-130J flew slowly past MCAS Iwakuni Friday in remembrance of five Marines who lost their lives after their aerial refueler collided in midair with an F/A-18 Hornet Dec. 6 off southern Japan.
Friends and family of the fallen Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 Marines also joined III Marine Expeditionary Force leadership for a private memorial that day in the unit’s hangar.
The crew members aboard the plane were Lt. Col. Kevin Herrmann, 38, of Fredericksburg, Va.; Maj. James Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Maximo Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz.; Cpl. Carter Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn.; and Cpl. Daniel Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill.
The remains of the crew and wreckage of the aircraft have not been found despite an exhaustive multinational search that involved Japanese, American and Australian aircraft and ships. The five-day effort covered more than 35,000 square nautical miles before it was called off Tuesday at 6 a.m.
Capt. Jahmar Resilard, a 28-year-old Hornet pilot, also died in the crash. A memorial service featuring a missing-man formation flyover was held Wednesday at MCAS Iwakuni and attended by his family and friends from Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 242.
The collision’s only survivor is Resilard’s fellow Hornet pilot who has not been identified. He was released from the hospital a few days after being rescued by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on the morning of the crash.
The cause of the collision is still unknown. Both aircraft were conducting regularly schedule training that included aerial refueling operations, according to the Marines and Japanese Defense Ministry.
Marine officials are still investigating the incident.