WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Marine Corps has identified the four Marines who died when their Osprey aircraft crashed Friday night in a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle during a NATO exercise.
The men, all assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing stationed on Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, were identified as:
• Capt. Matthew J. Tomkiewicz, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
• Capt. Ross A. Reynolds, 27, of Leominster, Massachusetts.
• Gunnery Sgt. James W. Speedy, 30, of Cambridge, Ohio.
• Cpl. Jacob M. Moore, 24, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
In a statement issued Sunday night, a Marine Corps spokesman said they were removed from the crash site and were in the process of being returned to the U.S.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, but Norwegian police reported bad weather in the area.
Officials in Norway said the MV-22B Osprey crashed in Graetaedalen in Beiarn, south of Bodoe.
The Marines, assigned to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, were taking part in a NATO exercise called Cold Response.
The aircraft was an MV-22B Osprey. It “had a crew of four and was out on a training mission in Nordland County” in northern Norway, the country’s armed forces said in a statement.
It was on its way north to Bodoe, where it was scheduled to land just before 6 p.m. Friday. The Osprey crashed in Graetaedalen in Beiarn, south of Bodoe. Police said a search and rescue mission was launched immediately. At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the police arrived at the scene and confirmed that the crew of four had died.
The Cold Response drill includes around 30,000 troops, 220 aircraft and 50 vessels from 27 countries. Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden are also participating. The exercises began on March 14 and end on April 1.
The first Cold Response exercise was held in 2006, and the drills are conducted every two years. They take place in southeastern, central and northern Norway.