EVENES, Norway — Relatives and leaders remembered the four Marines who died in a plane crash in northern Norway on Monday for their commitment to their military service and their families.
Captain Matthew J. Tomkiewicz, 27; Captain Ross A. Reynolds; 27, gunnery sergeant. James W. Speedy; 30; and Cap. Jacob M. Moore, 24, died when their MV-22B Osprey crashed south of Bodoe on Friday, the Marine Corps said in a statement Monday.
All four were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, according to the statement.
US and Norwegian officials are still investigating the causes of the Osprey crash. There had been severe weather warnings in the area at the time.
“The pilots and crew were determined to accomplish their mission and serve a cause greater than themselves,” Maj. Gen. Michael Cederholm, commander of the Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a letter to Marine families. .
The deceased are expected to be flown back to their families by dignified transfer in the coming days.
“We will continue to execute the mission while keeping these Marines and their service at the forefront of our minds,” Cederholm said. “We will never allow the sacrifice of these Marines to go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
The four Marines were among some 30,000 troops from NATO and partner nations taking part in Exercise Cold Response, which includes land, sea and air exercises and is scheduled to run through early April.
Their osprey was due to arrive in Bodoe on Friday at 6 p.m., according to a statement from the Norwegian Armed Forces. A missing person report was received around 6:30 p.m. and rescue planes were launched shortly after.
The crash site was discovered by air around 9:15 p.m. the same day, but bad weather prevented it from being reached until 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when police arrived and confirmed the deaths, the military said. norwegian.
Marines participated in the Norwegian-led recovery effort, while numerous NATO allies and partner nations also provided operational support during and after the incident, the Marine Corps said Monday.
Tomkiewicz, of Fort Wayne, Ind., joined the Marine Corps in 2015 and served as an MV-22B Osprey pilot. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Tomkiewicz is survived by his wife, Lauren, according to The Journal Gazette newspaper of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., where he joined the Marine Corps platoon leader class in hopes of attending officer candidate school, with the ultimate goal of flying for service after graduation, according to his LinkedIn page.
“We ask all Hoosiers to surround the family with unending love and appreciation for all that Captain Tomkiewicz has given to our state and our nation,” Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said. , in a statement, according to The Journal Gazette.
Reynolds, of Leominster, Mass., joined the Corps in 2017.
He is remembered on Monday as an active member of the community involved with the Boy Scouts of America, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and participating in veterans’ events “with [Reynolds] usually holding the flag,” according to a Facebook post from Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella.
Reynolds and his wife, Lana, tied the knot on Feb. 9, according to a post on Lana Reynolds’ Facebook page.
In a statement sent to Boston broadcaster WBTS, Reynolds’ family said they were devastated by the loss and were trying to come to terms with his death.
“Ross was so caring, compassionate and committed, not only to his country, but to being the best son, brother, husband, son-in-law, nephew, cousin, uncle, brother-in-law, friend and Marine that he could be. “the family said in the statement.
Speedy, of Cambridge, Ohio, had been a Marine since 2009 and served as an administrative specialist. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon.
On her Facebook page, Speedy’s wife, Chyanne, posted a photo of the couple early Monday with the note, “I love you so much.” The couple have a daughter.
Moore, of Catlettsburg, Ky., served as a crew chief of the MV-22B Osprey after joining the Corps in 2018. His decorations include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Exercise Cold Response continues as planned.
Stars and Stripes reporter Alison Bath contributed to this report.