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DoD Identifies Helicopter Crash Victims

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2006 – The Defense Department announced the names of eight Marines and two airmen killed in a Feb. 17 helicopter crash while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

All 10 died when two CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters crashed into the Gulf of Aden near Ras Siyyan, northern Djibouti, while flying a training mission in the Godoria Range area, officials reported.

Two crewmembers rescued shortly after the incident were taken to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. One crewman underwent knee surgery. The second crewman was bruised and may have inhaled contaminated seawater. Both were in stable condition the day after the crash and were transported to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany, officials said.

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, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, New River, N.C. Reported killed were:

  • 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.; and
  • Capt. Bryan D. Willard, 33, of Hummelstown, Pa.

The airmen killed in the crash were:

  • Senior Airman 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 crash is under investigation.

(Compiled from Defense Department news releases.)

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Related Articles:
All 12 Crewmembers 'Accounted For' After Crash Off Djibouti Coast
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