June 26 (UPI) -- The remains of three Marines who died when two planes collided in December near Okinawa were identified by the U.S. Marine Corps on Wednesday.
The cause of a midair collision between an F/A-18 fighter plane and a KC-130J tanker plane is still under investigation. Five people died in the collision, including three aboard the tanker and the pilot of the F/A-18. Only the weapons officer on the F/A-18 survived.
The crash occurred at night on Dec. 6, 2018, about 200 miles south of Muruto Cape on Skikoku Island, off Japan's southern coast.
A two-week recovery operation yielded the KC-130J cockpit voice recorder and its digital flight recorder.
The remains of Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, N.C.; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y., and SSgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz., were recovered, the Marines said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and all those who loved our fallen Warriors," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, former commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. "I am extremely grateful for the professionalism, dedication, and support of those who brought our Marines home."
The remains of Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill., and of Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn., were not recovered.