Fatal plane crash marks second tragedy faced by elite Marine unit

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The fatal plane crash on Monday marked the second time Marine Raiders have faced a tragedy of this magnitude.

Back in 2015, another seven Raiders were killed in a training exercise in Florida.

MARSOC Deputy Commander Col. Stephen Grass spoke Friday on what he called a tragic coincidence.

“It doesn’t affect how we move on to take care of our fallen, take care of their families or move on as an organization,” Grass said.

Grass said the battalion’s focus is on caring for the fallen Raiders’ families.

“The families generally understand the environment that the Marines and sailors get into when they take on this responsibility, and they don’t go in with ignorance,” said Grass.

Teams are typically made up of 14 members, and the seven who died in the fatal KC-130 crash were heading to pre-deployment training.

“A 14-man team can expect to train many times together in progressively harder and different skill sets in order to build in their competency and their confidence in being able to safely conduct the missions we give them in the real world,” said Maj. Nicholas Mannweiler, public affairs officer.

The other seven members of the team were already in Yuma setting up for the exercise.

The second half of the team which was on the plane were bringing the equipment needed, like body armor, radios and weapons.

MARSOC doesn’t have its own aviation assets, and it’s typical for the unit to travel with Marine reservists.

The colonel wouldn’t comment on more details of the investigation including who was flying the craft or the altitude it was traveling.

9OYS will continue to work on getting that information over the next few weeks.

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