Tuesday, September 20, 2011
(Editor's Note: You can click here to watch interviews with the families.)
The military has identified the two Marines killed yesterday in a helicopter crash at Camp Pendleton as Capt. Jeffrey Bland and 1st Lt. Thomas Heitmann.
The Marine Corps Times reports the victims were assigned to the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and were stationed at Camp Pendleton.
According to the Register-Mail, the 37-year-old Bland grew up in Galesburg, Illinois. He was married to Heather Cook Bland and had a 7-month-old daughter named Aliana. His parents, Janet and Carl Bland, still live in Galesburg.
In addition, the North County Times reports:
Bland had received numerous medals over his career, including two Navy Marine Corps Commendation medals, the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Air Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and the Korean Defense Service Medal.
Heitmann, reports the NCT, was awarded National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
1st Lt. Maureen Dooley, a wing spokeswoman at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, tells the Marine Corps Times all training flights will be grounded while the investigation into the cause of the crash continues. Dooley says:
The pause allows commanders “to conduct any safety stand-downs [and] conduct any routine maintenance on aircraft... It’s not for a loss of confidence in their aircraft."
The brush fire sparked by the helicopter crash burned to about 120 acres, but is now contained.