CORONADO (CNS) - The U.S. Navy has ordered all non-deployed aircraft units to conduct a one-day safety pause beginning Monday after multiple recent crashes in Southern California.
"In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities," Cmdr. Zachary Harrell said. "We understand the most valuable resource we have is our people, and we just want to be sure that we're making our best efforts to keep them safe as we train and operate."
Five Camp Pendleton-based servicemen were killed Wednesday when an aircraft crashed during a training flight in Imperial County. The victims were identified by the U.S. Marines Corps, and included the son of former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax.
Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois, a crew chief; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, a pilot; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a crew chief; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, a pilot; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a crew chief were all on board the MV-22B Osprey that went down shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in an "aviation mishap" while on a training mission near Glamis, east of Brawley, according to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing.
"It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family" Lt. Col. John C. Miller said. "This is an extremely difficult time... and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families. 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."
On June 3, a Navy fighter pilot based in Lemoore died when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in a San Bernardino County desert near Trona.
On Thursday, a Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter based at Naval Air Station North Island crashed 40 miles from the Osprey crash site. All four sailors on the helicopter survived.
The cause of the crashes were under investigation.
Monday's safety pause does not apply to the U.S. Marines.