Ex-Major League Star’s Son Among Marines Dead In California Crash
YOKOTA AIRBASE, TOKYO, JAPAN - 2022/05/22: A Bell Boeing V22 Osprey of the United States Air Force flying at Yokota Airbase, Fussa.
Damon Coulter/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The son of former Major League Baseball star Steve Sax was one of the five U.S. Marines killed when their aircraft crashed in California earlier this week.

Capt. John J. Sax, 33, from Placer, California, an MV-22B Pilot, was one of the five men identified on Friday as having died in the Wednesday crash. His heartbroken father, a five-time All Star who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Oakland A’s, said in a statement that he was devastated.

“It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of the five (5) US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8 in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego,” said Sax. “For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country.”

“Johnny Sax knew he wanted to be a pilot since his young years and would tell his Dad what types of planes were flying overhead while playing little league baseball in the outfield. “There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly! I am so proud of the man he became and so proud to call him my son! This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”

The younger Sax served in the Marines for five years and eight months and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Letter of Appreciation.

The five Marines were all based at Camp Pendleton. Also killed were Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire and three tiltrotor crew chiefs: Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico.

The MV-22 Osprey went down Wednesday afternoon during training in a remote area in Imperial County near the community of Glamis, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of San Diego and about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Yuma, Arizona,” the Associated Press reported. 

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,” said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, Commanding Officer of VMM-364. “This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families. Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time. We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help.”

The news followed the death of a U.S. Navy pilot in California who died during a training crash last week.

U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock died when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in the vicinity of Trona, California.

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