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Top row from left: Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland. Bottom row from left: Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio and Capt. John J. Sax.

Top row from left: Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland. Bottom row from left: Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio and Capt. John J. Sax. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The Marine Corps on Friday identified the five air crewmen who perished Wednesday when their MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft fell into the Southern California desert east of El Centro.

They were men from Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wyoming and California and ranged in rank from lance corporal to captain, according to a news release from Maj. Mason Englehart, spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. They belonged to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Englehart identified the Marines as pilots Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, N.H, and Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, Calif.; crew chiefs Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Ill.; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyo.; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, N.M.

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,” said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, the squadron commander, in the news release. “This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families.”

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, Calif.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, Calif. (Marine Corps)

Sax spent five years and eight months in the Corps. His personal awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Letter of Appreciation.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire. (Marine Corps)

Losapio served eight years and nine months. His personal awards include the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 2, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, according to the Marines.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois. (Marine Corps)

Carlson was a Marine three years. His personal awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Rasmuson served three years and two months. His personal awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico. (Marine Corps)

Strickland was a Marine for one year and seven months. His personal awards include the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

“Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time,” Miller said. “We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help.”

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming. (Marine Corps)

The Osprey and its crew were on a routine training flight when it crashed at about 12:25 p.m. near Glamis, Calif., a remote desert area in Imperial County about 35 miles north of the border with Mexico and 50 miles west of Yuma, Ariz., according to the Marines. The crash is under investigation.

Thursday evening, a Navy helicopter crashed in Imperial County, less than 48 hours after the Osprey crash, The Associated Press reported. All four Navy crew members aboard the MH-60S Seahawk survived the crash near El Centro, according to authorities.

On March 18, four Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed in Norway while participating in a NATO exercise. In 2017, three Marines died when their Osprey crashed off Queensland, Australia. In 2015, one Marine was killed and 21 were injured when their MV-22 Osprey caught fire during a "hard landing" in Hawaii, according to The Associated Press.

A Navy pilot was killed June 3 when his F/A-18 Super Hornet came down near Trona, Calif., about 300 miles northwest of Glamis. Lt. Richard Bullock was on a routine training mission when his Super Hornet crashed around 2:30 p.m. in a remote section of the Mojave Desert, according to the Navy.

Bullock was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 113 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, about 40 miles southwest of Fresno, Calif

author picture
Joseph Ditzler is a Marine Corps veteran and the Pacific editor for Stars and Stripes. He’s a native of Pennsylvania and has written for newspapers and websites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. He studied journalism at Penn State and international relations at the University of Oklahoma.
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