All five were from Camp Pendleton, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW).
The dead include a pilot, Capt. John J. Sax, 33, an MV-22B pilot from Placer, outside Sacramento. He was a Marine for nearly six years, and received personal awards, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Late Friday, Steve Sax, a former Los Angeles Dodger, confirmed that Capt. Sax was his son.
“It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of the five (5) US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8, in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego,” Steve Sax said in a statement to CBS Los Angeles. “For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country.”
He also said of his son: “I am so proud of the man he became and so proud to call him my son! This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”
The others lost Marines are:
- Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Ill., a Tiltrotor Crew Chief, a Marine for three years who received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
- Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of New Durham, N.H., an MV-22B Pilot and a Marine for nearly nine years. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
- Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyo., a Tiltrotor Crew Chief and a Marine for three years. His awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
- Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, N.M., a Tiltrotor Crew Chief, a Marine for 19 months. He received the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,” said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, commanding officer of VMM-364. “This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families.”
Miller said the “primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines,” while requesting privacy for their families.
“We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help,” he added.
At the time of the crash, near the border, the MV-22B Osprey and crew were conducting routine flight training in Imperial County. The incident remains under investigation.
Updated 11:20 p.m. June 10, 2022