Cooper orders flag to fly half-staff in tribute to Marine plane crash victims

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday ordered all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, July 12 in tribute to the 16 service members who died Monday night in a Marine KC-130 transport aircraft crash in Mississippi.

The aircraft was transporting six Marines and one Navy sailor from the 2d Marine Raider Battalion based in Camp Lejeune, WTVD reports.

The names and hometowns of the victims have not been released pending notification of family. The flight originated at an air station in Cherry Point, N.C.

A Cherry Point spokesperson told WTVD the plane stopped in North Carolina to pick up supplies and personnel. It was a KC-130T from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve based out of New York.

“Today we learned that among the 16 individuals killed in yesterday’s plane crash in Mississippi, seven were North Carolina Marine Raiders based right here at Camp Lejeune,” Cooper said. “Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, as well as the Marines they served alongside. Danger and sacrifice are inherent to the jobs carried out by our service members, and this tragedy is a reminder that they serve at home and abroad every minute of every day.

“Kristen and I, along with millions of North Carolinians and Americans, honor the service and sacrifice of these brave individuals and their families,” the governor added.