Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps identified Wednesday five U.S. Marines that were missing and declared dead in a collision of two aircraft in Japan.
The Marines were identified as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, N.C.; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz.; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill.; Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn.
All five were assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the names of our fallen Marines," U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of VMGR-152, said. "They were exceptional aviators, Marines, and friends whom will be eternally missed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones at this extremely difficult time."
A KC-130J Hercules collided midair with an F/A-18 Hornet on Thursday in a training crash that involved seven Marines, just before 2 a.m. about 200 miles south of Muroto Cape on Shikoku Island.
Two Marines on the fighter jet were rescued, but Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, of Miramar, Fla., later died of his injuries.
The circumstances of the crash are under investigation and Maj. Eric Flanagan told NBC News the Marine Corps will make every effort to salvage the aircraft and recover the bodies of the missing Marines.
"Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by U.S., Japanese, and Australian forces during the search," Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, commander of U.S. Marine Forces Japan said.