Marines identify 16 killed in Mississippi plane crash - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Marines identify 16 killed in Mississippi plane crash

(Source: U.S. Marines) (Source: U.S. Marines)
ITTA BENA, MS (WMC) -

U.S. Marines identified the 15 Marines and one sailor killed in a military plane crash on Monday.

The list of fallen servicemen is:

  • Major Caine Michael Goyette, 41, of Waterford New York
  • Capt. Sean Elliot, 30, San Juan Capistrano, California
  • Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson, 45, Colchester, New York
  • Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins, 34, Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Staff Sgt. William Kundrat, 33, Frederick, Maryland
  • Staff Sgt. Robert Cox, 28, Ventura, California
  • Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ryan Lohrey, 30, Anderson, Indiana
  • Sgt. Joshua Snowden, 31, Dallas, Texas
  • Sgt. Talon Leach, 27, Fulton, Missouri
  • Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman, 26, Richland, Washington
  • Sgt. Joseph Murray, 27, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Sgt. Chad Jenson, 25, Redondo Beach, California
  • Sgt. Owen Lennon, 27, Ponoma, New York
  • Sgt. Julian Kevianne, 31, Dallas, Texas
  • Cpl. Collin Schaaff, 22, Pierce, Washington
  • Cpl. Daniel Baldassare, 20, Colts Neck, New Jersey

In a press conference on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) representatives spoke about the tragedy.

"We are grateful for the support and effort at the crash site," said Col. Steven Grass, deputy commander of MARSOC. "We're also grateful for the outpouring of support from our local communities and from throughout the Marine Corps and the Special Operations Command and from across the country."

Seven Marines were killed from Camp Lejeune: Cox, Kundrat, Jenson, Leach, Murray, Schmieman, and Lohrey.

"[The Marine Corps] mourns this tragic loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these brave men," Col. Grass said.

Grass went on to iterate that a loss of life is the most devastating thing a group can go through.

"The cornerstone of the Marine Corps and special operations' communities are people. The Commands' top priority right now is caring for the families of our fallen. We ask for continued prayers and support during this difficult time and as the families begin the long process of grief and recovery, please respect their privacy and their need to focus on these difficult first steps,” Grass said. “Our hearts are with them and I assure you we are focusing all the resources available from both the Marine Corps and Special Operations Command to help them through this tragedy."

Grass went on to say that the Marine Corps would be having memorial services for each of the fallen members. He said specifics of those ceremonies will depend on the desires of each Marine's family.

"Marines and sailors from MARSOC have been similarly tested before...I'm impressed by the absolute strength and resilience that's been the mark of MARSOC," Grass said.

CLICK HERE to see pictures of all the men who lost their lives.

Major Caine Michael Goyette

Major Caine Michael Goyette was a KC-130 aircraft commander, who honorably served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom in September 2005.

Major Goyette was a 22-year Marine veteran close to retirement. He was the pilot of the plane and the highest ranking officer in his unit. 

He was the recipient of many awards including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (2), and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal National Defense Service Medal.

Capt. Sean Elliot

Capt. Sean Elliot was a KC-130 aircraft commander, who served in WesPac16 from August 2016 to February 2017.

His father, John, told San Diego's Union-Tribune that his son used to take a model C-130, loaded with toy soldiers, to bed with him when he was 4 years old. 

"He slept with it like you would a teddy bear," John Elliott 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 since seeing an airshow as a child.

Elliot was honored with the following awards and honors for his military service: Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (2), and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal National Defense Service Medal.

Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins

Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins was a tactical systems operator and mission specialist who bravely served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom from August 2005 to September 2005, Operation Enduring Freedom 141 from May 2014 to June 2014, and Operation Enduring Freedom 142 from July 2001 to August 2001.

He was the recipient of the following awards:  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.

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson

Gunner Sgt. Brendan Johnson was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who told his father he "had the best job" in the Marine Corps. 

His father, Kevin Johnson, recalled his son telling him, "I get to fly everywhere." 

Johnson joined the U.S. Marines after graduating from Johnson State College in Vermont as a fine arts major. He was looking forward to retiring next year, according to his father. His plans for retirement included possibly getting his Master's degree and moving to Montana with his wife, Anna.

"He was thinking of looking into that, but he said, 'You know, I've got some time,'" Johnson told NBC29. "We'll miss him."

Johnson received the following awards during his time in the military: 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);  and Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award).

Sgt. Joshua Snowden

Sgt. Joshua Snowden was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who grew up in Dallas, Texas. He served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom 14.1 Transition in June 2014, Operation Enduring Freedom 14.2 Transition from July 2014 to August 2014, and Special Purpose MAGTF from October 2014 to January 2015.

His sister, Sara Quarterman, shared a touching tribute to her brother on Facebook that said her brother "loved God, his family and friends, and his country. And he died serving his country and God."

The Snowden family released the following statement about Joshua, "a dedicated Marine, steadfast friend, and an honorable man."

"Words cannot adequately express the sadness and pain that have descended upon our family after the loss of our son and brother. He was a dedicated Marine, a steadfast friend, and an honorable man. He had an exuberant presence that could fill any space. You always knew when Joshua entered a room, and you always knew when he left. Joshua was a positive force in the life of everyone he met. He loved God, his country, his family, and his friends, his enthusiasm for Texas was unmatched. We have been overwhelmed by the support and love that we have received from friends, and Josh’s important role in so many people’s lives could not be more evident. He died serving his country, and we are proud of his 13 years of service. We grieve for Joshua and for the fifteen others who leave behind enormous voids in the hearts of their loved ones. To borrow the words of one of his friends, “heaven has gained one hell of an angel.”

Snowden received the following awards during his time in the U.S. Marines:  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, and Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award).

Sgt. Julian Kevianne

Sgt. Julian Kevianne was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who served our country during Operation Enduring Freedom 12.2 from November 2012 to March 2013. 

Julian's brother, Carlo, told Detroit Free Press that his brother joined the Marines in 2009 because he wanted to protect and defend our country. 

Kevianne lived with his wife, Sherry Jennings-Kevianne.

During his time in the military, Kevianne was honored with the following awards:  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); and Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award).

Sgt. Owen Lennon

Sgt. Owen Lennon was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom 12.2 from November 2012 to March 2013. 

Lennon's sister, Kelly, took to Facebook to express her sorrow after learning about her brother's passing.

"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." 

Honors and awards Lennon received during his time in the military include  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); and Meritorious Mast (2). 

Cpl. Daniel Baldassare

Cpl. Daniel Baldassare was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who wanted to be a Marine since he was in middle school.

Baldassare's friend, Dan McGowan, told WPIX-TV, "He actually would bring military gloves to football practice and play with them. He was a patriot and all he wanted to do was serve our country. Everyone had a lot of respect for Dan."

He earned the following honors and awards throughout his time in the military: Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Cpl. Collin Schaaff

Cpl. Collin Schaaff was a KC-130 fixed wing aircraft crew master, who entered the Marine Corps nearly four years ago, according to New York Times. He was promoted to corporal in December 2015. 

He was honored with the following awards during his time of service: Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Letter of Appreciation (2); and Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award).

Staff Sgt. Robert Cox

Staff Sgt. Robert Cox was a critical skills operator, who served our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom 9.1 from March 2009 to June 2009, Operation Iraqi Freedom 9.2 from July 2009 to January 2010, Operation Enduring Freedom from May 2011 to December 2011, and Operation Inherent Resolve from January 2016 to July 2016.

During his 10 years in the military, Cox was honored with the following awards: 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; and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. William Kundrat

Staff Sgt. William Kundrat was a critical skills operator, who bravely served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to June 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom 4-6 from September 2005 to February 2006, Operation Iraqi Freedom 5-7 from February 2006 to April 2006, Deployed to Senegal from April 2010 to May 2010, and Operation Inherent Resolve from December 2015 to June 2016.

Kundrat's mother spoke about her son to 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 said. "I'll never forget that."

Kundrat played football and lacrosse, and was also an Eagle Scout, while growing up in Frederick, Maryland. 

He was honored with the following awards during his time in the military: 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; and Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award) (2).

Sgt. Chad Jenson

Sgt. Chad Jenson was a critical skills operator in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

During his time in the service, Jenson received the following awards and honors: 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); and Meritorious Mast (2).

Sgt. Talon Leach

Sgt. Talon Leach was a critical skills operator, who deployed from December 2015 to July 2016 for Operation Inherent Resolve. He joined the military in 2010.

He was honored with the following awards for his service in the U.S. Marine Corps:  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; and Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman

Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman was a critical skills operator, who deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2010 to March 2011 and January 2012 to July 2012. 

His father told The Associated Press that his son joined the Marine Corps when he was 19 years old. 

"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 said. "He certainly did that himself."

He was honored with the following awards for his service: 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; and Certificate of Appreciation.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ryan Lohrey

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ryan Lohrey was a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman, who bravely served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2010 to May 2011 and in Operation Inherent Resolve from July 2016 to January 2017.

Lohrey's friends describe him as a man with a passion for the military.

"He always told everybody he was going to be a Navy seal, and I told him he was crazy enough to do it," one of his best friends, Chris Parrish, said. "That was the first time he talked about it. He wasn't scared or anything."

Instead of becoming a Seal, he became a Navy Corpsman.

"That's what he wanted to do. That's what he signed up to do and that's what would make him happy and that's what made him happy," his friend, Travis Forest, added. 

Forest and Parrish said Lohrey leaves behind two young children. 

Lohrey was honored with the following awards for his service:  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; and Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon.

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