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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 147-06
February 19, 2006

DoD Identifies Marine and Air Force Casualties

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of eight Marines and two airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  All 10 died Feb. 17, when two CH-53 helicopters crashed into the Gulf of Aden in the vicinity of Ras Siyyan, northern Djibouti, while flying a training mission in the Godoria Range area.  The Marines and airmen were deployed to Djibouti as part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

 

            The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, Marine Air Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, New River, N.C.

 

            1st Lt. Brandon R. Dronet, 33, of Erath, La.

            Sgt. James F. Fordyce, 22, of Newton Square, Pa.

            Lance Cpl. Samuel W. Large, Jr., 21, of Villa Rica, Ga.

            Sgt. Donnie Leo F. Levens, 25, of Long Beach, Miss.

            Cpl. Matthieu Marcellus, 31, of Gainesville, Fla.

            Sgt. Jonathan E. McColley, 23, of Gettysburg, Pa.

            Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Sovie, 20, of Ogdensburg, N.Y.

            Capt. Bryan D. Willard, 33, of Hummelstown, Pa.

 

            The airmen were:

 

            SrA. Alecia S. Good, 23, of Broadview Heights, Ohio. Good was assigned to the 92nd  Communications Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base,Wash.

 

            Staff Sgt. Luis M. Melendez Sanchez, 33, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.  Sanchez was assigned to the 1st Communications Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Va.

 

            The cause of the incident is under investigation.

 

            Media with questions about these Marines can contact the Marine Corps Air Station New River Public Affairs Office at 910-449-5435.

 

            For further information about the airmen, contact the Langley Public Affairs Office at (757) 764-5411 or the Fairchild Public Affairs Office at: (509) 247-4051.