Of Courage Undaunted

Marine planes roar out of North Carolina’s Cherry Point most every day. It’s such a common occurrence and the pilots do their jobs so well that many of us never stop to think of the danger. But it’s there, in peace and in war. Every time they rise, they can also fall. That point was sadly driven home once again last Monday afternoon.

A plane from the Cherry Point air station in Craven County crashed in rural Mississippi, killing the 15 Marines and one sailor on board, multiple news agencies reported.

Federal Aviation Administration officials had contacted the Marines when the plane disappeared from air-traffic-control radar over Mississippi, CNN reported. The plane crashed just off U.S. 82, about 85 miles north of Jackson, with debris found on both sides of the road.

The plane was a KC-130 air tanker, transporting members of an elite Marine special-operations unit for training in Arizona, The Associated Press reported.

The plane was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York state and had on board troops from that base and our Camp Lejeune. These troops who died doing their jobs leave their loved ones broken. “While the details of the incident are being investigated, our focus remains on providing the necessary resources and support to the family and friends of these service members as they go through this extremely difficult time,” the Marines said in a news release.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in a press release: “This is a tragic reminder of the dangers our service members are confronted with on a daily basis, including the training missions that are needed to help keep our nation safe at home and abroad.”

The planes will keep roaring out of Cherry Point and all the other air stations across this land. We’d do well not to take for granted the sacrifice made by the troops in those planes. Last week was a grim reminder of that.

The Winston-Salem Journal

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