A Marine proud of his home state of Texas. A patriot who wanted to be a Marine since middle school. A man near retirement. A Marine who recently texted a Bible verse to a family member. Another whose last post on Facebook is a song about time running out. A married father whose mission was to “destroy evil on this earth.”
Fifteen Marines and one sailor perished in the KC-130 plane crash in Mississippi. The plane corkscrewed into a soybean field in the Mississippi Delta for reasons that are not yet clear.
Not all of the names have been released yet, but some of the victims’ identities and stories are now becoming known. This post will be updated as more victims’ identities are released. According to The Detroit Free Press, the aircraft was “carrying members of an elite Marine special operations unit cross-country for training in Arizona when it went down” in the field, leaving a fiery wreckage scene.
The plane “exploded” at about 20,000 feet. There were no survivors.
Mississippi’s governor and President Donald Trump commemorated the service of those on the doomed flight.
Those who died are:
Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden
Snowden had family in Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, and was close to turning 32. On Facebook, he showcased his love for Texas.
A relative shared a Bible verse that Snowden recently sent her in a text.
“This man. He loved God, his family and friends, and his country. And he died serving his country and God. I have no words so I’ll share with you one of his last texts to me,” she wrote.
Gunnery Sergeant Brendan Johnson
Johnson, who was 46, was a year from retirement and was remembered for his love of the outdoors and gentle demeanor, according to WREG-TV.
Johnson was married and was from Vermont. He was a very gentle person. He loved the outdoors,” said Kevin Johnson, his father, to WCAX-TV. “He was looking forward to retirement next year. He said it was time to move on and let some of the other kids take over.”
Baldassare played football and would speak about being in the military someday, the television station reported. He wrote on Facebook that he was a crewmaster in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“He was a patriot and all he wanted to do was serve our country. Everyone had a lot of respect for Dan,” Friend Ryan McGowan said to PIX 11. He wanted to be a Marine since middle school, McGowan told the television station.
Baldassare was from Colts Neck, New Jersey, and New York. A friend wrote on Facebook, “R.I.P Dan Baldassare. I grew up with him in colts neck. He was one of my best friends growing up. Such a horrible loss. RIP buddy. Thank you for serving this amazing country.”
Kevianne, 31, was a Marine Sergeant from Detroit. His brother, Carlo Kevianne, told The Detroit Free Press that Julian “joined the Marines in 2009 because he wanted to protect and defend the country.”
Carlo Kevianne wrote on Facebook, “I was just with you Julian Kevianne you showed me all the things you do I didn’t want you to show me how to feel like this I love you and know you with our heavenly Father watching me and you been had your wings I’ll stop crying and I’ll start again I hear you I already miss you bro never this feeling.”
On Facebook, Julian Kevianne listed his occupation as Flight Engineer Trainee at Marine Corps Recruiting; Crew Master at Uncle Sam; Former C-130 Crewmaster at U.S. Marine Corps; Former FLT Mech trainee at U.S. Marine Corps and other positions.
His last public post was a music video by Muse entitled, “Time Is Running Out.” He was married and was a graduate of Detroit High School for the Fine & Performing Arts and Michigan Technological University, where he studied mechanical engineering.
Murray was 26 and was from Jacksonville, Florida. He was a married father who had served two tours in Afghanistan.
Murray’s parents “called him a hero, an inspiration and a loving father to his three sons and 5-year-old daughter, including twins who are 1 year old this month,” reported News4Jax.
His wife, Gayle, told the television station, “Everyone knew him as a family man. He would do anything for me and our kids. He loved to play his guitar and ukulele for us. What he wanted most in the world besides our happiness was to destroy evil on this earth.”
Leach was 27. Wrote a friend on Facebook, “I cant believe that another good friend has been taken from this realm. U will b extremely missed my brother and I hope that u are now in peace and walk side by side with the Gods. RIP bro and I hope to see u on the other side one day.”
Leach was married.
William Joseph Kundrat
Kundrat was 33 and was from Frederick, Maryland. His mother, Lynda, told The Frederick Post: “Every breath of air you take, all the things you’re able to do, you can do those things because of people like my son. I’ll never forget that.”
Kundrat was married with two children. According to the newspaper, he is the son of a former U.S. Marine. His mother told the Maryland newspaper that her son had served in Iraq.
Mark Hopkins, who was from Montgomery, New York, was also married. He also left behind a son. According to his Facebook page, he studied at American Military University and went to Great Bridge High School.
His cousin, Jessica Hauck, wrote on Facebook, “I’m beyond words by how heartbreaking this news is for everyone who loved him and the 15 other brave Marines who lost their lives that day. Please pray for him, his family and the others who lost their lives and their families as they go through this absolutely unimaginable tragedy. I hope his family can have some bit of solace knowing my dad, his Uncle Al, is there keeping him company.”
Lennon’s sister, Kelly, wrote on Facebook, “You may have been the youngest, but we always looked up to you. Our hero, Owen Lennon.”
Lennon, 26, was a 2008 graduate of Ramapo High School, where he played football and tennis and grew up in Pomona, New York, reported Lohud.com.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day released a statement that read: “The loss of Marine Owen Lennon of Pomona reminds us again that freedom is never free. Lennon, 26, was among the casualties when a military aircraft that left Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh crashed in Mississippi. He grew up in Pomona and graduated from Ramapo High School in 2008. This Marine from Rockland County represented the very best that our young people have to offer. He was immensely proud of his service to our nation. We, the people of Rockland County, will remember him with a mix of pride and sadness – pride that he died in service to the nation we love and sadness for a young life cut short. We have reached out to the Lennon family to let them know that they can count on the support and assistance of the county. As the father of two sons who have served in the military, including one still on active duty, I cannot imagine the pain the Lennon family is experiencing. The County of Rockland mourns with them.”