Four northbound Marine F/A-18 Hornets roared over Iwakuni at 11:27 a.m. Wednesday and executed a missing-man formation in tribute to a comrade who lost his life in a midair collision last week.
Friends and family from Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 242 gathered on the base to remember Capt. Jahmar Resilard.
His body was recovered by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Setoyuki after his Hornet collided with a KC-130J Hercules aerial tanker during regularly scheduled training just before 2 a.m. Dec. 6 off the coast of Japan.
U.S. forces adopted the missing-man formation in 1938 from the British, a Marine Corps statement said. Four aircraft fly in a V formation. As the formation passes overhead, the No. 2 aircraft, to the right of the lead, pitches steeply skyward, leaving a space to represent the fallen servicemember.
The 28-year-old Marine from south Florida had wanted to be a pilot since he was a child, according to his mother, Joni Moore-Resilard of St. Augustine, who spoke to Stars and Stripes last week.
She described a moment when Resilard, still in elementary school, said to her: “You know mom, I don’t want to drive, I don’t need a driver’s license. I just want to fly.”
A second Hornet crew member, who has not been identified, was rescued by a JMSDF helicopter and has since been released from the hospital.
The crew of the KC-130J from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, has not been found, despite an exhaustive search that involved assistance from three countries, covered more than 35,000 square nautical miles and accumulated some 900 hours. The effort was called off at 6 a.m. Tuesday after five days of searching.
Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller shared his condolences Tuesday via Twitter. “Heavy hearts, Corps wide. ‘Til Valhalla Marines,” the message said.
A memorial service is scheduled Friday for the refueler crew, although the details are still being worked out, according to a Wednesday email from 1st Marine Aircraft Wing spokesman Maj. Eric Flanagan.
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