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Dec. 7, 2018 / 3:22 PM GMT / Updated 4:30 PM GMT
By Hans Nichols and David K. Li
The Marine killed in a training accident near Japan was identified on Friday as a pilot from Miramar, Florida, as rescuers continued their search for five still-missing crew members.
Capt. Jahmar Resilard served as an F/A-18 pilot and was stationed out at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan, before losing his life in a mid-air accident earlier this week.
“The Bats are deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Jahmar Resilard, “ said Lt. Col. James Compton, commanding officer of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 — a crew known as the “Bats.”
“He was an effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow fighter pilots with passion,” according to Compton’s 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.”
Resilard, 28, was always fascinated with flying and dreamed of being a pilot — or crime-fighting superhero, his cousin Brandon Alexander told NBC News on Friday.
“It was between that and being Batman — or he wanted to do both,” said Alexander, 34. “That (flying) was his passion.”
The deadly accident off the Japanese coast happened at 1:42 a.m. local time Thursday (11:42 a.m. ET on Wednesday) when a KC-130 refueling aircraft carrying five crew members and an F/A-18 fighter jet carrying two, “came in contact” and crashed into the sea, a Japanese official said.
Two Marines, including Resilard, were initially rescued alive, before the captain was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Five remain missing and rescuers continued their search through late Friday night.
Capt. Resilard’s decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.