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Remembering 19 Marines who died during training mission 24 years ago

Memorial service held at Marana Regional Airport
Memorial service honoring 19 Marines who lost their lives
Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-06 20:18:12-04

MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Today in Marana, a memorial service was held at Marana Regional Airporthonoring the 19 Marines who lost their lives in a crash during a training mission on April 8, 2000.

During the training mission, an MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft went down at Marana Regional Airport.

The 19 fallen Marines:

  • Sgt. Jose Alvarez
  • Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke
  • 2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy
  • Kenneth O. Paddio
  • Cpl. Can Soler
  • Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger
  • Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez
  • Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin
  • Pfc. George P. Santos
  • Pvt. Adam L. Tatro
  • Pfc. Alfred Corona
  • Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones
  • Cpl. Adam C. Neely
  • Lance Cpl. Keoki P. Santos
  • Cpl. Eric J. Martinez
  • Maj. John A. Brow
  • Maj. Brooks S. Gruber
  • Cpl. Kelly S. Keith
  • Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson

The service marking 24 years since the accident. Organizers said it was one of the largest attendance in recent years. One of those in attendance was Major Mark Davis.
“I was doing an exercise. I was the operations officer in Yuma and this flight that the Marines died on was part of that exercise,” Maj. Davis said.

Davis said attending the service was important to him to honor his Marine, Corporal Eric J. Martinez.

“This is my first time seeing it, a really great turn out and just a really professional ceremony,” Maj. Davis said. “Really honors those fallen in a great way so I was really proud to see it all work out like that.”

During the service each Marine was named and recognized one by one. Maj. Davis said he thinks “Some of America may forget that we lose warriors in training as well, it’s not just combat. So memorializing these gentlemen every year — that’s how we remember them.”

Mike Flynn is the National Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps League and was the emcee at the memorial service. He said they do everything they can to honor them.

“Unfortunately we lose servicemen and women every year and this is our little piece that’s close to home. We want to keep their memory alive,” Flynn said.

Flynn hopes to have family members of the fallen Marines attend next year’s service for the 25th anniversary of the crash.

Madison Thomas joined KGUN 9 in July of 2023 as a multimedia journalist. She graduated from Arizona State University in May of 2023 with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She has lived in Arizona her entire life and grew up in Douglas. Madison is thrilled to share the stories from the community she grew up in. Share your story ideas and important issues with Madison by emailing or by connecting on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.