Four Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Miramar, were killed as a result of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash in the vicinity of El Centro, California, at approximately 2:35 p.m. (PST), April 3, 2018.

“The loss of our Marines weighs heavy on our hearts,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW. “Our priority is to provide support for our families and HMH-465 during this critical time.”

Capt. Samuel A. Schultz, 28, of Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2012.

Schultz’ previous duty stations include Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida; Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; and MCAS New River, North Carolina.

Schultz previously deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He has no personal awards.

First Lt. Samuel D. Phillips, 27, of Pinehurst, North Carolina, was a pilot assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in August 2013.

Phillips’ previous duty stations include NAS Pensacola, NAS Corpus Christi and MCAS New River. He has no personal awards and has not deployed.

Gunnery Sgt. Derik R. Holley, 33, of Dayton, Ohio, was a CH-53 helicopter crew chief assigned to HMH-465. He joined the Marine Corps in November 2003.

Holley’s previous duty stations include Marine Corps Base Quantico and MCAS Miramar. He previously deployed to Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi  Freedom, to Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, and with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Holley’s personal awards consist of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4th award), Air Medal-Strike/Flight (9th award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Good ConductMedal (4th award).

Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Conrad, 24, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a CH-53 helicopter crew chief assigned to HMH-465. Conrad joined the Marine Corps in May 2016. He has no personal awards and has not deployed.

“The hardest part of being a Marine is the tragic loss of life of a fellow brother-in-arms,” said Col. Craig Leflore, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 16. “My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of Capt. Samuel Shultz, 1st Lt. Samuel Phillips, Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, and Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad. These “Warhorse” Marines brought joy and laughter to so many around them. They each served honorably, wore the uniform proudly and were a perfect example of what makes our Marine Corps great – its people! They will forever be in our hearts and minds.”

The aircraft departed the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, to conduct squadron training consisting of aircraft landings in unimproved zones.

The mishap occurred approximately 15 miles west of El Centro.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

All releasable information is contained within this release.


UPDATE: 3RD MAW CH-53E SUPER STALLION CRASH April / 4 / 2018
Four Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were killed as a result of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash in the vicinity of El Centro, California, at approximately 2:35 p.m. (PST), April 3, 2018.

The aircraft departed the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, to conduct squadron

training consisting of aircraft landings in unimproved zones.

The mishap occurred approximately 15 miles west of El Centro.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The names of the deceased will be withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.

All releasable information is contained within this release and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.


A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed in the vicinity of El Centro, California, at approximately 2:35 p.m. Tuesday during a routine training mission.

Four crew members were aboard the aircraft.  The status of all four is presumed dead pending positive identification.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The names of the deceased will be withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.

All information is contained within this release and updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Courtesy United States Marines