In a devastating incident off the coast of Darwin, Australia, three Marine Corps members tragically lost their lives. The individuals have been identified as Corporal Spencer Collart, Captain Eleanor LeBeau, and Major Tobin Lewis. As part of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) Squadron 363, known as “the Red Lions,” they were deployed with the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin.
Corporal Collart, who enlisted in 2020, served as the crew chief for the MV-22B Osprey in VMM-363. Captain LeBeau, who commissioned in 2018, was an MV-22B Osprey pilot for the same squadron. Major Lewis, an executive officer of VMM-363, commissioned in 2008. These individuals were highly respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family.
The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation. However, there is currently no indication that a fault in the MV-22B design, similar to a previous incident, was the cause. Pentagon officials stated that there are no plans to stand down the MV-22B platform at this time, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Safety is of utmost importance in aviation operations, and the investigation must have time to unfold. While the data is examined, potential stand-downs or other actions will be determined based on the specific circumstances of each situation.
The crash occurred in a remote area, but local Australian agencies responded swiftly to the incident. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles praised the quick response, which contributed to the survival of 20 out of the 23 people aboard the aircraft. The crash site was described as having a significant fire.
Both the United States and Australia will conduct thorough investigations into the incident, as it occurred on Australian territory. The authorities from both countries will closely collaborate to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated inquiry.
The contributions and service of the fallen Marines should be acknowledged and honored. Corporal Collart had previously served in Jacksonville, N.C., and Pensacola, Fla., earning several accolades. Captain LeBeau’s service included assignments in Pensacola, Jacksonville, and Corpus Christi, Texas, where she also received various commendations. Major Lewis served in Pensacola, Corpus Christi, Jacksonville, and Okinawa, Japan, and was the recipient of several prestigious medals and ribbons.
This tragedy serves as a solemn reminder of the inherent risks faced by military personnel in their line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Corporal Collart, Captain LeBeau, and Major Lewis, as well as all those affected by this heartbreaking incident.
1. What caused the crash?
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. There are currently no indications that a fault in the MV-22B design was the cause, as seen in a previous incident.
2. Will there be any impact on the MV-22B platform?
As of now, there are no plans to stand down the MV-22B platform. Any decisions regarding potential actions will be made based on the findings of the investigation.
3. How many survivors were there?
Out of the 23 people aboard the aircraft, 20 survived the crash thanks to the swift response by local Australian agencies.
4. Who will be conducting the investigation?
Both the United States and Australia will conduct comprehensive investigations into the incident, given that it occurred in Australian territory. The authorities from both countries will collaborate closely to ensure a thorough inquiry.
– USNI News