On Friday, the Marine Corps identified the names of the 15 Marines and one Navy sailor killed when their aircraft crashed earlier this week in the worst aviation accident for the branch in more than a decade.
The announcement comes two days after a Marine general told the public that early indications in the crash investigation point to some type of massive mechanical failure while the four-engine cargo aircraft was at cruising altitude. Eyewitness said they saw the plane break apart midair before crashing in a field in western Mississippi.
Brig. Gen. Bradley James, commander of the 4th Marine Air Wing, told reporters Wednesday that the plane, a KC-130 from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452 with the call sign Yankee 72, was flying from an airfield in North Carolina to Yuma, Ariz., to transport six Marines and one sailor from the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, a Special Operations unit, when it went down.