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Multiple jet crashes linked to San Diego-based Marine fighter squadron

Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 11:34:18-04

An MCAS Miramar-based fighter squadron saw two of its jets crash in a span of four days, with one of the crashes being fatal.

On Tuesday, an F/A-18C Hornet training near Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada crashed in an open area. The Navy pilot ejected safely and was not severely injured.

Unfortunately, the wreckage looked all too familiar. On a part of the plane was the same logo as a squadron at MCAS Miramar called the Red Devils. The jet was on loan from the squadron.

Four days earlier, the same type of jet from the Red Devils squadron went down near Twentynine Palms. It was a pre-deployment mission, and pilot Maj. Richard Norton died in the crash.

Norton's commanding officer called him one of our nation's best and brightest Hornet pilots. Officials are trying to understand what went so devastatingly wrong.

The Red Devils squadron managed to survive the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, but as they headed home back last October, another pilot fell from the sky.

Maj. Taj Sareen did not make it, and the pain his Marines felt at the memorial was almost palpable.

The heartache has been felt from the Red Devils to the Blue Angels.

In June, Capt. Jeff Kuss was flying his Hornet on a practice run before an air show. He was one of our nation's finest pilots. Something went wrong, and he too touched ground for the final time.

Maybe it is misfortune or maybe it is more. The Navy first started flying them in the 1980s and 1990s and has since been working on an overhaul to extend their use.

The job is inherently dangerous. They took an oath, so they continue to fly knowing their risk of falling is sky high.