Photo: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
US military officials released Friday the identities of the five deceased Marines in a tragic plane crash this week in Southern California and it has been confirmed that one of them was the son of a former baseball star.
Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, was one of two pilots of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s MV-22 Osprey who crashed Wednesday in a remote part of Imperial County. Three other younger Marines were on board at the time of the accident near the town of Glamis.
In addition to John J. Sax, Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, died; Nathan E. Carlson, 21; Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, and Evan A. Strickland, just 19 years old. The causes of the accident are still being investigated..
“It is with utter devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny, was one of five US Marines who perished in the military Osprey crash on Wednesday, June 8 near San Diego,” Steve said in a statement. Sax, who had a long career in Major League Baseball.
Steve Sax was a star in the 1980s and 1990s, having been a teammate of Fernando Valenzuela on the Los Angeles Dodgers. for nearly a decade. He played second base and was distinguished by his speed and charisma on the field.
“For those who knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, 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.”added Sax, who also played for the Yankees, White Sox and Athletics in a career that included two World Series titles and five All-Star Games.
The Dodgers mourned the deaths of Sax and the other Marines: “The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened by the death of Steve Sax’s son, John, and the five Marines who lost their lives in this week’s tragic helicopter crash. Our thoughts and condolences to their families and friends.”
The Osprey is a so-called “vertical takeoff and landing” aircraft that has rotating wings that can be raised to have the maneuverability similar to that of a helicopter, or forward to give it the forward motion of an airplane.
The aircraft was based at Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and was part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The main use of the aircraft was the “transport of troops, equipment, and supplies from ships and land bases for combat assault and assault support”, according to the Marine Corps.
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