Marine pilot killed in crash in England is identified
The Marine Corps has identified the pilot killed Wednesday when his F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet crashed near RAF Lakenheath in England as Maj. Taj Sareen of Hillsborough, Calif.
Sareen, 34, became a Marine Corps fighter pilot in 2005 and was educated at the University of San Francisco and University of Auburn, according to his LinkedIn page.
At the time of the crash he was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Sareen’s aircraft went down soon after takeoff from RAF Lakenheath about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, crashing in a farm field in the nearby town of Redmere. One witness described a loud noise followed by a large fireball.
The pilot ejected from the aircraft, said Gunnery Sgt. Donald Bohanner, a spokesman for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
British and American investigators continued working at the crash site Thursday. A spokesman for RAF Lakenheath said the aircraft was unarmed at the time of the crash.
The aircraft was one of six F/A-18C Hornets returning to California from Bahrain, where it was deployed as part of a Marine task force for operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Sareen previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and was an instructor at Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 at MCAS Miramar.