Ex-Dodger’s Son Among Five Marines Killed in Imperial County Crash

LOS ANGELES—Five Camp Pendleton-based servicemen killed when an aircraft crashed during a training flight in Imperial County have been identified by the U.S. Marines Corps, including the son of former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax.

Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois, a crew chief; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, a pilot; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a crew chief; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, a pilot; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a crew chief were all on board the MV-22B Osprey that went down shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in an “aviation mishap” while on a training mission near Glamis, east of Brawley, according to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing.

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family” Lt. Col. John C. Miller said. “This is an extremely difficult time … and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families. Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time.”

Steve Sax, 62, issued the following statement:

“It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of the five US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8 in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego.

“For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country,” the statement continued.

“Johnny Sax knew he wanted to be a pilot since his young years and would tell his Dad what types of planes were flying overhead while playing little league baseball in the outfield. There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly! I am so proud of the man he became and so proud to call him my son! This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”

Steve Sax played for the Dodgers from 1981-88. He later played for the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Oakland A’s before retiring after the 1994 season.

U.S. Navy Orders Safety Pause

Following Wednesday’s crash, as well as other recent crashes in Southern California, the U.S. Navy ordered all non-deployed aircraft units to conduct a one-day safety pause beginning Monday.

“In order to maintain the readiness of our force, we must ensure the safety of our people remains one of our top priorities,” Cmdr. Zachary Harrell said. “We understand the most valuable resource we have is our people, and we just want to be sure that we’re making our best efforts to keep them safe as we train and operate.”

On Thursday, a Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter based at Naval Air Station North Island crashed 40 miles from the Osprey crash site. All four sailors on the helicopter survived.

On June 3, a Navy fighter pilot based in Lemoore died when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in a San Bernardino County desert near Trona.

The cause of the crashes are under investigation.

Monday’s safety pause does not apply to the U.S. Marines.

City News Service

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