U.S. Sailors Missing from Cargo Plane Crash off Japan Identified

By Mel Dikert

Last week, a C2-A Greyhound cargo plane went down in the midst of what was meant to be a routine transport flight between Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. There were 11 people on the plane when it crashed. According to USA Today, the plane crashed about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa, Japan. Eight of the eleven were rescued and brought to the USS Ronald Reagan which had been their initial destination. They were said to be in good condition when they got back to the carrier.

In the two-day search that followed the crash, several U.S. and Japanese ships, helicopters and patrol aircraft “covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles” in an effort to find the three sailors still missing, said USA Today, but there were no sightings by the end of the search. The search effort was “led by the USS Ronald Reagan and joined by units of the Japanese self-defense force.” Will DeJianne (‘21) said, “I had no idea this happened. It’s extremely sad to hear about these kinds of accidents with the military.”

On Saturday, November 25, those sailors who could not be saved were identified as Lt. Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso. Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these sailors. Their service and sacrifice will be lasting in Seventh Fleet and we will continue to stand the watch for them, as they did bravely for all of us.”   

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera informed reporters on Wednesday that he had been told by the U.S. military that engine troubles seem to have been the cause of the crash, though it is still being investigated.

“It’s really unfortunate that this happened and my thoughts go out to the families of the missing sailors,” said Cameron Donnelly (‘21). “I hope they are able to find out what the cause of the crash was so they can prevent more instances like this from happening.”

Image courtesy of NY Daily News

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