Marine KC-130 Crash Claims Lives of Seven from MARSOC

Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules
Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules

A Marine KC-130 crash claimed seven members of the Camp Lejeune-based 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. They are missing and presumed deceased in the Marine KC-130 crash LeFore County, Mississippi on Monday, July 10th at approximately 4 p.m. CDT. The aircraft was transporting six Marines and one Navy sailor from Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command along with their associated equipment for routine small unit pre-deployment training in western United States.

The aircraft was a KC-130T from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group – 49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve. The aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. The KC-130K usually has a crew of six people. The mission of VMGR-452 is to provide training and support for SMCR units to ensure readiness for mobilization, provide aerial refueling, provide air transprot for personnel, equipment, and supplies, and to conduct other air operations. [1]

The flight originated from Cherry Point. On board were small arms and ammunition as well as standard equipment for a MARSOC element. The aircrew is from a New York-based reserve unit. The aircraft was scheduled to travel to a naval airfield at El Centro, California. It would then continue on so the MARSOC personnel could be dropped off at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona for pre-deployment training.

The KC-130 is a refueling aircraft but also will move cargo and personnel. The aircraft debris was scattered over a wide area. The aircraft seems to have suffered a structural failure at 20,000 feet and then spiraled to the ground landing in an agricultural field. The location of the crash site was about 85 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi.

An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team responded to the incident and was at the scene shortly after the crash. The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The names of the Marine Raiders and aircrew were not immediately released pending family notification. [2] Other members of the MARSOC team, an advanced party, had already arrived at Yuma. The usual team size of a MARSOC team is 14 members.

The Marine Corps special operations unit was established in 2006 amid the global war on terror as the USMC’s contribution to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) located in Tampa, Florida. In 2015 the group was officially named the Marine Raiders to link its heritage to World War II commando units that saw action in the Pacific.

On Friday, June 14th the Unites States Marine Corps released the names of the Marines (MARSOC and aircrew) and Navy Sailor who died in the crash. This same company of the 2nd Raider Battalion also suffered losses of personnel from an aircraft crash in March 2015.

Video – A memorial video tribute to those lost in the KC-130 crash by the Marine Corps Defense Media Activity.

Editorial Note: This article was originally published on July 11, 2017. It has been updated with more information as it has been released in the media – to include more recent media accounts of the KC-130 crash.

For Additional Information:

“MARSOC Marines, Sailor among 16 in KC-130 Crash”DVIDS, July 11, 2017.

“Marine Corps KC-130 crashes, killing 16”DVIDS, July 11, 2017.

“Seven MARSOC Raiders Among Troops Killed in KC-130 Crash”, July 11, 2017.

KC-130 Crash, WikipediA.

“Marine Special Ops among 16 fatalities in C-130 crash”Lima Charlie News, July 12, 2017. This article provides more details on the aircraft explosion and spiral to the ground.

“Marines, Sailor killed in KC-130T crash identified”DVIDS, July 13, 2017.

Video – MARSOC Press Conference on KC-130T Crash, July 14, 2017. A ten-minute video of press conference by MARSOC held at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.


[1] See webpage for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452

[2] The names of those killed in the air crash have slowly been showing up in the news media as families have provided additional information on their lost family members. Marine Corps Times has provided names and pictures of those deceased in a press article dated July 12, 2017.

[3] See “Elite Marines killed in crash share WWII commando heritage”, AP News, July 13, 2017.

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