OKINAWA, Japan — Appalachian State University alumnus Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, was one of five U.S. Marines declared dead on Dec. 12 following what is described as a mishap off the coast of Kochi, Japan.
“Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann served 16 years in the Marine Corps,” a Dec. 12 statement from the USMC said. “His decorations include the Air Medal with 24 Strike Flight Awards, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. He was promoted to the rank of Lt. Col. posthumously.”
Herrmann was a 2002 graduate of Appalachian State, ASU spokesperson Megan Hayes said, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. According to media reports, Herrmann joined the USMC after graduating. According to government-affiliated daily newspaper Stars and Stripes, Herrmann was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as an operations officer and KC-130 aircraft commander, and served as a pilot in Iraq in 2005 and 2007.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the names of our fallen Marines,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, commanding officer of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152). “They were exceptional aviators, Marines and friends whom will be eternally missed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”
According to the III Marine Expeditionary Force, a KC-130 Hercules and F/A-18 Hornet accident occurred about 200 miles off of the coast of Kochi, Japan around 2 a.m. local time on Dec. 6. The mishap occurred when the aircraft were conducting routine training, and aerial refueling was a part of the training. The search covered more than 35,000 square nautical miles and involved approximately 900 hours of searching by Japanese, Australian and U.S. aircraft, ships and other assets before being called off on Dec. 11 at 1:15 p.m. local time. The circumstances of the aircraft mishap are currently under investigation, the USMC stated.
“On behalf of every Marine and Sailor in III MEF, I want to personally thank the Japanese Self Defense Forces, Australian Defence Forces, United States Forces Japan, United States Forces Korea, the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet and the U.S. Air Force’s 5th Air Force for their support in searching for our missing Marines,” stated Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, Commanding General III MEF. “The Japanese in particular provided us unwavering support which allowed one crew member of the F/A-18D to return home alive and allowed us to recover the body of the second F/A-18D crew member. The special bond that exists between III MEF and the JSDF has never been stronger. We stand ready to return this warrior courtesy if called upon. Alliances matter and Marines never forget. We remain Semper Fidelis.”
Two Marines were recovered from the scene of the accident, with one declared dead shortly after, later identified as Captain Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, of Miramar, Fla.
Along with Herrmann, the other four Marines declared dead are Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz.; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill.; and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn.