Marine memorial service at Marana Regional Airport

Marine memorial service at Marana Regional Airport
(Source: Nighthawk 72 Marana Detachment #1344 of the Marine Corps League)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - In remembrance of the 19 U.S. Marines that were killed in an MV-22 Osprey training accident on April 8, 2000; a memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 6.

The announcement was made earlier this week by Tom Wilson, Sr. the Commandant of the Nighthawk 72 Marana Detachment #1344 of the Marine Corps League.

The ceremony, which is free and open to the public will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Marana Regional Airport at 11700 W Avra Valley Rd, Marana, AZ 85653. The event will include posting of colors by the Marine Corps, a wreath laying by various organizations, guest speakers Honorable Mayor Honea, Department of Arizona Marine Corps League Commandant John Rodriguez, and Cpl Joshua Hanson, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines 0331 Machine Gunner; rifle salute, taps, bagpiper, and vocalist Amanda Sinner.

There will be a special missing man formation flyover provided by the Scorpion Squadron of the West Coast Ravens Formation Team.

March 16, 2019 the roadside memorial was moved slightly northeast and a parking area was created. The new area is more suitable for the ceremony.

The 19 Marines lost were as follows:

3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

  • Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28
  • Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21
  • Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23
  • Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28.
  • Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27
  • Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18
  • 2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24
  • Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21
  • Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22
  • Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23
  • Pfc. George P. Santos, 24
  • Lance Cpl. Keoki P. Santos, 24
  • Cpl. Can Soler, 21
  • Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19

Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38

  • Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21

Marine Helicopter Squadron 1

  • Maj. John A. Brow, 39
  • Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34
  • Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22

Marine Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204

  • Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30

The MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft was conducting a training mission in support of Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) when it went down at the Marana Regional Airport on April 8, 2000. During the mission, the crew and Marines conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) exercises as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, with Marines embarking and disembarking the aircraft. The mission was conducted at night utilizing night vision goggles and forward looking infrared radar to enhance night operational capability. This mishap aircraft was part of the Multiservice Operational Test Team, based at Patuxent River, Maryland, but was temporarily attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

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