The Marine Corps has identified the pilot of the F/A-18 Hornet that went down during a mid-air refueling mishap with a KC-130 tanker aircraft off the coast of Japan early Thursday morning. One other Marine has been recovered and is listed in stable condition, with search and rescue operations continuing for the remaining five missing Marines.
Captain Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, who was serving with the Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA(AW)-242) out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan has been identified as the pilot whose body was recovered on Thursday.
“He was an effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow fighter pilots with passion,” Lt. Col. James Compton, the squadron commander, said in a statement.
“His warm and charismatic nature bound us together and we will miss him terribly. We honor his service and his contribution to the Marine Corps and our great nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Among Captain Resilard’s personal decorations were the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.
While the circumstances of the crash remain a mystery, it occurred during nighttime refueling operations about 200 miles off of the Japanese coast. Both Marines aboard the Hornet have been recovered, with one currently being treated in a Japanese hospital and the other, Captain Jahmar F. Resilard, declared dead shortly after he was found by search and rescue teams. The five Marines serving aboard the KC-130 have yet to be found.
President Trump and Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller both took to Twitter on Thursday to express both their condolences to the families and their gratitude to those continuing the search for the missing Marines.
My thoughts and prayers are with the @USMC crew members who were involved in a mid-air collision off the coast of Japan. Thank you to @USForcesJapan for their immediate response and rescue efforts. Whatever you need, we are here for you. @IIIMEF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2018
As Marines, Navy, and Japanese partners continue search and rescue efforts off the coast of Japan for those involved in the tragic aviation mishap last night, we ask that you keep the families in your thoughts and prayers as we investigate.
— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) December 6, 2018
Image courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps