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One Marine killed in chopper crash was from Fresno, family says

February 24, 2012 |  7:18 am

 One of seven Marines killed in a helicopter collision near Yuma, Ariz., was identified by his family as Sgt. Justin Everett of Fresno.

The 1996 graduate of Reedley High School came from a family of military brothers who all loved flying, his parents told a Fresno TV station.

"James, the oldest, he was a crew chief on C-130s," Justin's father, James Everett, Sr. told KFSN-TV. "Jason was a crew chief on B-1s. Justin's a crew chief on helicopters."

"And they all loved what they do, and Justin especially," said his mother, Patsy Everett. The 33-year old grew up in Fresno, but was living with his family in Riverside County.

Everett and the others died Wednesday during routine training operations near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, when an AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter and a UH-1Y Super Huey utility chopper collided.

The aircraft were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing stationed at Camp Pendleton. The Marines belonged to the same unit, which is based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego. Six, including Everett, were stationed at Camp Pendleton. The seventh was stationed in Yuma.

Everett and the others were preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan, officials said. It would have been his fourth wartime tour of duty. He leaves behind a wife, Holly, and two young children.

"We won't know exactly what happened until the investigation is complete, and we can't make any assumptions right now," said 1st Lt. Maureen Dooley, a spokeswoman for the 3rd Wing.

There will be an "intensive investigation" into the cause of the crash over the next few months, Dooley said.


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