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US Marines Killed In NATO Drills Identified

US Marines Killed In NATO Drills Identified

The soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash on Friday, March 18, during a training flight in Norway.

Four US Marines who lost their lives during NATO drills in Norway have been identified.

The Marines were killed in a helicopter crash on Friday, March 18, during a training flight south of Bodo.

'It is with great sadness we have received the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night. The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers' families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit,' Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre earlier tweeted.

The soldiers have since been identified: Cpl. Jacob M. Moore, 24, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky; Gunnery Sgt. James W. Speedy, 30, of Cambridge, Ohio; Capt. Matthew J. Tomkiewicz, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Capt. Ross A. Reynolds, 27, of Leominster, Massachusetts, the Marine Corps said, as per The Hill.

The four men were assigned to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing stationed on Marine Corps Air Station in New River, North Carolina.

The aircraft, a V-22B Osprey, had a 'crew of four and was out on a training mission' at the time of the crash, landing in Gråtådalen in Beiarn, south of Bodø.

The Marines were reported missing after failing to report back from the drill, at which point a search and rescue mission was launched immediately. Police arrived at the scene at 1:30am on Saturday, March 19, where they confirmed the crew had died.

The area where the aircraft crashed was experiencing adverse weather, with rain, heavy cloud cover and winds as strong as 52 miles per hour. 'The weather conditions in the area are challenging, and it is expected to get worse,' a statement from the Norwegian military said.

The incident comes as around 30,000 troops from 27 NATO and partner countries take part in the biennial Cold Response exercise, Norway’s largest military drills since the end of the Cold War, encompassing land, sea and air.

The II Marine Expeditionary Force is said to be the largest American military unit taking part, with 3,000 Marines deployed to Norway.

In a letter to the victims' families, Maj. Gen. Michael Cederholm wrote: 'The pilots and crew were committed to accomplishing their mission and serving a cause greater than themselves.'

'We will continue to execute the mission while keeping these Marines and their service on the forefront of our minds. We will never allow these Marines’ sacrifice to go unnoticed or unappreciated,' he added.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: @NavalInstitute/Twitter

Topics: US News