UPDATE: Marine Identified In UK Hornet Crash
UPDATE 8:25 AM OCTOBER 23, 2015: The San Diego-based Marine who died Wednesday when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed in the U.K. has been identified as Maj. Taj Sareen. He is a native of Hillsborough near San Francisco and was 34. A memorial fund to raise money for his daughter Jade has been set up and has already raised $20,000. Annie Driscoll, a friend since 2005, said she set up the fund to help "his beautiful daughter Jade" and hoped it would "teach her about [her father's incredible charity and allow his story to live through her".
On Sareen's Instagram account, his last post, captioned "Our UK arrival. That much closer to #home," drew many comments, each wishing him a peaceful rest, thanking him for his service, and calling him buddy, warrior, sir, pilot, aviator, hero to the end.
He played on the tennis team at the University of San Francisco and graduated in 2004. Before joining the Marine Corps, he worked for AOL and the New York Life Insurance Co. Sareen was commissioned in the Corps in 2005. He was piloting his F/A-18C home to MCAS Miramar after a six-month deployment in the Middle East when the crash occurred. Sareen had deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and was an instructor with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 101. His personal awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and one Air Medal - Strike Flight "5".
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Marines of Maj. Sareen, and we are currently providing support to those affected by this tragic incident,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Other personnel from the “Red Devils” Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 have returned to Miramar this week, concluding their deployment in the Central Command area of military operations.
(read the entire Marine Corps press release below.)
UPDATE 9:40 AM: 3rdMAW F/A-18C VMFA-232 crashed in the vicinity of RAF Lakenheath, ENG. More info will be released as available.
UPDATE 11:00 PM: Marine officials have confirmed a Marine pilot died this morning when his F/A-18C crashed outside of RAF Mildenhall, England. "Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the pilot," reads a press release from Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon.
It was not clear what caused the accident, or whether the pilot ejected. The jet, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, was a single seat Hornet returning from a rotational deployment to the Middle East, where it was attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force–Crisis Response–Central. The unit flew daily sorties out of Anbar province, Iraq, against Islamic State militants.