Search called off for 5 Marines aboard lost KC-130

| December 11, 2018

c-130 landing lightsThe search for missing crew that began after a KC-130J and a Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet crashed Dec. 6 has been called off. (Marine Corps)
By: Tara Copp and Kyle Rempfer

The Marine Corps has declared the five Marines missing after a mid-air collision during an Air to Air (ATA) refueling evolution. Those of us with an aviation background knew there was but the slimmest chance of anyone from the C-130 surviving, but there is always hope. I presume there now will be a recovery effort, both for deceased crewmembers and any wreckage including the cockpit data recorder.These may provide clues as to what occurred, so measures may be taken to prevent another ATA mishap.

The search for a Marine Corps KC-130 and its five missing crew members has been called off after days of intense rescue operations over a wide swath of deep waters off the coast of Japan failed to locate the aircraft.

The Marine Corps has pronounced the five crew members deceased.

“I have made the determination to end the search and rescue operations for the crew of our KC-130J aircraft which was involved in a mishap off the southern coast of Japan and to declare that these Marine warriors are deceased,” Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, III Marine Expeditionary Force commander, said in an announcement Tuesday.

“Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by U.S., Japanese, and Australian forces during the search,” Smith said.

The KC-130?s flight data and cockpit voice recorders have still not been located, “making it premature to speculate about wreckage recovery,” Smith added.

The aircraft was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and held the call sign “Sumo.”

“All of us in the Sumo family are extremely saddened following the announcement of the conclusion of search and rescue operations,” Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of VMGR-152, said. “We know this difficult decision was made after all resources were exhausted in the vigorous search for our Marines.”

Fair winds and following seas, Marines.

Category: Marines

Comments (31)

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Prayers for the families. Training is often as deadly as combat.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    Was thinking this would not bode well for these Warriors. The longer we went with no word, the less hope we could hold out. They made mention that the job could be dangerous when we took that oath.

    Peace be unto the families. May we find out what happened.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Damn. Just damn. I had hoped….

    Fair winds and following seas….

  4. 11B-Mailclerk says:


  5. Sparks says:

    God rest them well. I am praying for their families.

  6. FuzeVT says:

    Fair winds, Marines. Prayers go out to the dead and their families. Very sad.

  7. If any pictures that were shown were of the recovery attempts, those seas were awful rough for any success. RIP Marines.

  8. ChipNASA says:

    I was in Okinawa, I saw these guys. I worked C-130s, C141s, C-5 (FUCK YOU!!), C-17, L1011s, KC-10s, KC 135s, And a couple commercial I can’t, even remember.
    Guys, rest that you know you did the best to your ability and error or mechanical, we all that that risk the moment we walk out of our rooms.

    Throwing up a prayer for all of you and your families.

  9. Mason says:

    Rest easy, Marines. We have the watch.

  10. HMC Ret says:

    Rest in Peace, Warriors. God bless you and yours.

  11. Andy Kravetz says:

    One of the men was from the Peoria, Illinois area. He was 21 years old. He was a 2015 grad, liked robotics and was a good friend to foreign exchange students. In short, a damn fine human being. I posted it only so they aren’t just Marines but they are People who were Marines. I think it’s important to remember them both for their service and their humanity.

    Andy Kravetz, reporter
    Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star

  12. Andy Kravetz says:

    A story we just did today. Tragically or thankfully, Daniel Baker called home just before his last flight. Please keep the family in your thoughts. He was a near Straight A student with a zeal for life, love of robotics and people.

    Andy Kravetz, reporter
    Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star

    • Tallywhagger says:

      Andy, your name sounds familiar, have you written to us before? Wasn’t there a story about some sissy-ass reporter getting his dainties bruised the “recoil” of an AR15?

      Thanks for sharing the link to Daniel’s story.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Andy has been around here for years.

      • HMC Ret says:

        Andy Kravetz isn’t the sissy assed reporter; he’s one of the good guys.

        I remember the reporter you’re writing about. He wrote as if he almost needed hospitalization from firing the big, black rifle. Probably still has the PTSD from the encounter.

        • AW1Ed says:

          You all are thinking of Gersh Kuntzman and his horrifying experience firing the dreaded AR-15.

          NYC Daily News- Kuntzmann Link

          • Tallywhagger says:

            Yes, that’s the one, KuntMan. FWIW, I never meant to impugn or suggest that Andy was on the wrong side of the story. To the contrary, I thought that he had brought us the story.

            We are all on the same page.

            • Andy Kravetz says:

              Thanks for the kind words to all but I’m just some guy who writes about the military who wasn’t a veteran. So occasionally, I’ll pop on and ask what this means or that means. People here have been great.

  13. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I saw this post earlier and have been avoiding it. It’s just so damn sad. I, too, was hoping against hope. The mind wanders, thinking about their plans, near and long, the families that are now grief stricken. Just so damn sad.

  14. Tallywhagger says:

    If memory serves, they were on a training mission and refueling around 02:00. That sounds like a difficult operational environment to me but that is why we have training.

    May the Grace of God console their families and team members.

    The flight data recorders will eventually be found and some sense of what happened sorted out.

    • AW1Ed says:

      The incident F/A-18 had a wingman. Presumably the crew (assuming another two-seater) will be able to shed some light on the tragic event.

      • Tallywhagger says:

        Amen. Marlin Perkins, or one of those guys of the era, used to say, “there are no villains at the watering hole”.

  15. luddite4change says:

    One of the crewmen was the brother of my son’s close friend, I ask that you keep the families in your thoughts and prayers.