U.S. military confirms death of crew member in Okinawa chopper crash


The U.S. Air Force said Saturday it has confirmed that the human remains discovered at the site of a helicopter crash in Okinawa on Monday are those of the fourth crew member.

The 18th Wing’s public affairs section at U.S. Kadena Air Base said it has confirmed the death of Tech. Sgt. Mark Smith, 30, a flight engineer with the 33rd Rescue Squadron.

The HH-60 rescue helicopter Smith was aboard crashed Monday in a mountainous area within the premises of Camp Hansen, a U.S. military installation on Okinawa Island, around 2 km from the nearest residential area.

The other three crew members had been confirmed safe. The Kadena base said Tuesday that human remains had been discovered at the crash site but had yet to be identified.

  • ff

    I think every American would rather have our soldiers die working to defend a nation like Japan, whether than working to defend Iraq or Afghanistan. RIP SGT Mark Smith, your service will never be forgotten

  • Yoshio Shimoji

    My sincere condolences to Tech. Sg. Mark Smith.

    But then I feel indignant when I read a comment like ff’s. Despite themselves, they are desecrating the victim by giving hollow words.

    Yesterday, NHK broadcast a half-documentary about Japanese Imperial Army’s kamikaze pilots of how they were recruited, trained and finally ordered to go to death missions. Their supposed remains were returned to bereaved families with official consolation saying that their sons had been deified for their heroic action. “War god” were the words inscribed on their wooden grave markers. 

    One poster on the Internet wrote that Sg. Smith has “made the ultimate sacrifice serving his country and helping defend another” even though he was engaged in rescue and combat training, the quota he could fulfill in U.S. mainland, not necessarily in Okinawa.

    • ff

      Ok, first off, ever time an American soldier dies in the line of duty, I feel some responsibility. Do you know why? I elected the morons to office who sent our brave men and women out to fight. I was simply saying that most Americans would rather have our fine men and women die working to promote peace and freedom like in Japan, than fighting unnecessary wars that our politicians feel should be fought such as Afghanistan and Iraq. You have a lot of nerve making the comment you did. How dare you say I am desecrating SGT Smith? . Don’t forget he was there training to defend your homeland just incase North Korea and China went crazy. And to top it off, no message of condolence from Prime Minster Abe, just another statement demanding answers for the crash. Talk about hypocrisy.