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Faces of the Fallen: the 16 men who died in the KC-130 airplane crash

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The 15  and a Navy sailor killed in a military plane crash earlier this week in Mississippi came from around the country. Six of the  and the sailor were from an elite  Raider battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Nine were based out of Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, home of a  Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said the final set of remains was recovered Thursday from a farm field where the KC-130 crashed Monday. Most of the remains have since been flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where military officials say they will be processed by Air Force Mortuary personnel and then released to their grieving families.

Major Caine M Goyette

Major Caine M. Goyette: KC-130 Aircraft Commander

Active Duty, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Major Caine was the pilot according to MARFORRES. He had deployed four times, twice to Afghanistan.

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Letter of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award)

***

Captain Sean E. Elliott

Captain Sean E. Elliott, KC-130 Aircraft Commander

Active Duty, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Capt. Sean , one of the plane’s pilots, had a longtime love affair with the C-130. His father, John , tells San Diego’s Union-Tribune that his son used to take a model C-130 loaded with toy soldiers to bed when he was four.

“He slept with it like you would a teddy bear,” John  said. “A big plane, in the bed. A silly plastic thing, with the toy soldiers inside. It went to bed with him every night for quite a long time.”

His mother, Cynthia , said her son was “enamored” with aircraft and the military at least since attending a childhood air show.

A prep standout in tennis, the 6-foot 2-inch  was renowned for a booming serve. His younger brother Erik went pro, but Sean  went to officers’ school, graduating from the University of California, Davis.

“He was always looking out for others, starting with me but then continuing to his fraternity brothers and his ,” Erik  said.

 got his  Corps call sign “Puffin” because he refused to hunt the nesting and defenseless birds during a stopover in Iceland, his father said.

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal National Defense Service Medal, Letter of Appreciation (2)

***

Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hopkins

Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hopkins, Tactical Systems Operator/Mission Specialist

Active Duty, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (5); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4); Humanitarian Service Medal (4); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Letter of Appreciation; Certificate of Appreciation

***

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan C. Johnson

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan C. Johnson, Fixed Wing Aircraft Crew Master KC-130

Active Reserve, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson, 46, told his father he had the best job in the  Corps.

Kevin Johnson of Colchester, Vermont, recalled his son said, “I get to fly everywhere.” His son was based at Stewart, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic and Pacific and touring many countries.

Brendan Johnson joined the  after graduating from Johnson State College in Vermont. A fine arts major, Johnson once surprised the family with portraits he painted based on old pictures of his grandfather and father-in-law when they graduated from Navy boot camp.

The elder Johnson said his son, who was taking on more administrative work, was looking to retire next year. Plans included possibly returning to school for a master’s degree and then moving from Newburgh New York, to Montana, home to his wife Anna. He said Brendan loved the outdoors and was considering a job as a park ranger or a fish and game warden.

“He was thinking of looking into that, but he said, ‘You know, I’ve got some time,'” Johnson said. “We’ll miss him.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3); Air Medal-Strike/Flight; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4); Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2); Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal (3); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2); Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal (2); Armed Forces Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3); Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2);  Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award); Letter of Appreciation (5)

***

Staff Sgt. Joshua M. Snowden

Staff Sgt. Joshua M. Snowden, Fixed Wing Aircraft Crew Master KC-130

Active Reserve, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden, a flight engineer on the transport plane, grew up in the Dallas area and graduated from Highland Park High School in 2004, having already signed up for the Marines, The Dallas Morning News reports.

On Facebook, Quarterman wrote Tuesday that her 31-year-old brother “loved God, his family and friends, and his country. And he died serving his country and God.”

Snowden himself often displayed his Texas roots and love of the Dallas Cowboys on Facebook, even while stationed at Stewart.

“I can tell you that Josh loved his family and friends, God, his country, and country-western music and dancing,” Snowden’s aunt, Linda Hughes, told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, New York. “He was one of the warmest, kindest, more patriotic people I’ve ever known.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal-Strike/Flight, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal (3), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award); Letter of Appreciation (2)

***

Sgt. Julian M. Kevianne

Sgt. Julian M. Kevianne, Fixed Wing Aircraft Crew Master KC-130

Active Reserve, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Sgt. Julian Kevianne, 31, joined the Marines in 2009 because he wanted to protect and defend the country, his brother told the Detroit Free Press.

John Allen, a cousin of Kevianne, told The Detroit News that Kevianne talked about joining the military when he was younger. Allen said Kevianne could be quiet with people he didn’t know, “but once he was comfortable with you, he was a loud blast of fun.”

“We don’t have any words right now. We’re hurting,” sister Tania Kevianne, 27, told The New York Daily News. “He was the best man.” Kevianne, a flight engineer, was based at Stewart and lived with his wife Sherry Jennings-Kevianne in New Windsor, New York.

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal (2); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Letter of Appreciation (6); Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award)

***

Sgt. Owen J. Lennon

Sgt. Owen J. Lennon, Fixed Wing Aircraft Crew Master KC-130

Active Reserve, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Owen Lennon, 26, grew up in Pomona, New York, playing football and tennis for Ramapo High School in Rockland County before graduating in 2008. Lennon’s sister, Kelly Lennon, posted a remembrance on Facebook, saying, “You may have been the youngest, but we always looked up to you. Our hero, Owen Lennon. (broken heart) sending love to the other USMC families that lost loved ones last night.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (1); Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award); Meritorious Mast (2); Letter of Appreciation (3); Certificate of Appreciation

***

Corporal Daniel L. Baldassare

Corporal Daniel L. Baldassare, Fixed Wing Aircraft Crew Master KC-130

Active Duty, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Dan Baldassare, 20, had wanted to be a Marine since he was in middle school, his friend Dan McGowan told WPIX-TV.

“He actually would bring military gloves to football practice and play with them,” said McGowan, who drove his friend to practice in high school. “He was a patriot and all he wanted to do was serve our country. Everyone had a lot of respect for Dan.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal

***

Corporal Collin J. Schaaff

Corporal Collin J. Schaaff, Aircraft Ordnance Technician

Active Duty, Stewart Air National Guard Base, VMGR 452, MAG 49, 4th MAW

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Letter of Appreciation (2); Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award)

***

Staff Sgt. Robert H. Cox

Staff Sgt. Robert H. Cox, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2); Combat Action Ribbon; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (1); Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3); Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2); Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2); Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Navy Unit Commendation Medal; NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan; Letter of Appreciation

***

Staff Sgt. William J. Kundrat

Staff Sgt. William J. Kundrat, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Staff Sgt. William Joseph Kundrat, 33, grew up in Frederick, Maryland, where the  parents, Joseph and Lynda, still live.

His mother confirmed her son’s death in a telephone interview Wednesday with The Frederick News-Post.

“Every breath of air you take, all the things you’re able to do, you can do those things because of people like my son,” she told the newspaper. “I’ll never forget that.”

Kundrat graduated in 2002 from Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, where he played football and lacrosse. He also was an Eagle Scout.

After graduation, he joined the . And in 2004, Kundrat married classmate Ashley Cregger, according to the paper. It said they lived in Holly Ridge, North Carolina, and had two children together.

Kundrat served in Iraq, his mother said, later joining the  Corps Forces Special Operations Command 2nd  Raider battalion stationed at Camp Lejeune. Said his mother: “He was a great .”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4); Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4); Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3); Iraq Campaign Medal (5); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2); Navy Unit Commendation Medal; Presidential Unit Citation-Navy; NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan; Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award) (2)

***

Sgt. Chad E. Jenson

Sgt. Chad E. Jenson, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award) (2); Letter of Appreciation (3); Meritorious Mast (2)

***

Sgt. Talon R. Leach

Sgt. Talon R. Leach, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (2); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Certificate of Appreciation (3)

***

Sgt. Joseph J. Murray

Sgt. Joseph J. Murray, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Joseph Murray’s family recalls him as a ukulele player, former surfer kid and deeply religious family man who excelled in the .

Terry Murray told reporters Wednesday the 26-year-old special operations Marine had been a surfer at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Florida, who surprised his military veteran parents by joining the Marines.

The father said his son was at the center of family life and his Marine units, sharing his Christian faith by serving others and his country. Terry Murray said one Marine told him Joseph hummed praise songs constantly on patrol.

“When Joseph stopped singing praises, they took their safeties off their weapons, because they immediately thought something was up,” Terry Murray said.

Murray leaves a widow, Gayle, and four children — a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and twin 1-year-olds.

“He loved to play his guitar and ukulele for us,” Gayle Murray said in a statement. “What he wanted most in the world besides our happiness was to destroy evil on this earth.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3); Combat Action Ribbon; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (2); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2); Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Unit Commendation; NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan; Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award); Meritorious Mast

***

Sgt. Dietrich A. Schmieman

Sgt. Dietrich A. Schmieman, Critical Skills Operator

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command

Dietrich Schmieman joined the  Corps at age 19 with an ambition to serve in special operations, his father said.

Schmieman, 26, grew up in Richland, Washington, and enlisted after completing an academic program that allows students to earn a college associate’s degree while they finish high school, said his father Eric Schmieman.

“The most common comments his friends made about him were that he helped them, and he inspired them to live life to the fullest,” Eric Schmieman told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “He certainly did that himself.”

He said his son served in a reconnaissance unit before joining the elite Raider command about two years ago.

The Rev. Corey Smith of Richland Lutheran Church, who was Dietrich Schmieman’s youth pastor from sixth grade until he enlisted, said the young man joined the  out of a desire to serve others.

“That’s the kind of heart he had,” he said in a phone interview. “He loved to help people.”

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2); Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (2); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Certificate of Appreciation; Letter of Appreciation (3)

***

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryan Lohrey

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryan Lohrey, Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman

Active Duty, 2nd Raider Battalion, MARSOC

Navy Corpsman Ryan Lohrey was a high school football standout in Indiana who had gotten married weeks before the crash.

His father, Michael Lohrey, told The Herald Bulletin newspaper that his son enlisted in the Navy after high school and survived two tours overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, making his death on the way to training all the more tragic.

“I never would have expected this to happen,” he said.

Lohrey said his son, who had two children of his own, wanted to use his skills as a medic to eventually pursue a career in nursing. The younger Lohrey was married in early June.

A high school football and golf teammate, Chris Parrish, told the newspaper the Navy corpsman had a fearless streak when it came to BMX biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading.

“He wasn’t scared of anything,” Parrish said. “That’s probably why he was so good in the Navy.”

Indiana’s governor joined a congressman and senator in offering condolences.

“Words cannot express the depth of sorrow I feel for his wife and two young children, especially,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

Awards and decorations with (# of each award): Purple Heart; Combat Action Ribbon (2); Good Conduct Medal (3); Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2); Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; NATO Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon; Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon

***

General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps expressed his condolences yesterday, “On behalf of the entire Marine Corps, I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the aircraft mishap yesterday afternoon in Mississippi. Please keep the families of our 16 fallen service members in your thoughts and prayers. Our focus remains on notifying and supporting the families while we conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this tragedy.”

President Donald Trump tweeted condolences as well, writing, “Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!”

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The CAN Press contributed to the article.

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