Monroe resident among those killed in military plane crash

Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden ‘was a positive force in the life of everyone he met,’ family says


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  • Staff Sgt. Joshua Michael Snowden



BY ERIKA NORTON

The family of Monroe resident Staff Sgt. Joshua Michael Snowden, 31, has identified their son and brother as one of the 16 service members killed in Monday’s military plane crash in rural Mississippi.

The KC-130T refueling and transport plane slammed into soybean fields on July 10 at about 4 p.m. after what appears to be problems at high altitude, Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James told reporters Wednesday at a press conference in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

The crash killed nine Marines from Newburgh, and six Marines and one Navy Corpsman from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, James said.

The Marines have not officially released the names of the dead as of Thursday, as this paper goes to press.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Snowden was a flight engineer aboard the KC-130T. He lived in Monroe and his unit was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.

Snowden grew up in Dallas, Texas, graduated from Highland Park High School in 2004 and enlisted in the Marines in 2003, according to The Dallas Morning News. His mother and sister still live in Dallas.

His family released a statement, which was shared on the Facebook page of Snowden’s sister, Sara Snowden Quarterman:

“Words cannot adequately express the sadness and pain that have descended upon our family after the loss of our son and brother,” the family said. “He was a dedicated Marine, a steadfast friend, and an honorable man. He had an exuberant presence that could fill any space. You always knew when Joshua entered a room, and you always knew when he left. Joshua was a positive force in the life of everyone he met.

“He loved God, his country, his family, and his friends, his enthusiasm for Texas was unmatched. We have been overwhelmed by the support and love that we have received from friends, and Josh’s important role in so many people’s lives could not be more evident. He died serving his country, and we are proud of his 13 years of service.

“We grieve for Joshua and for the fifteen others who leave behind enormous voids in the hearts of their loved ones. To borrow the words of one of his friends, “heaven has gained one hell of an angel.”

Snowden was also an alum of Texas State University, where he played lacrosse. The Texas State Lacrosse team expressed their condolences in a Facebook post:

“We have unfortunately lost one of our own. Josh was a great teammate who was beloved. Thank you for your service and godspeed.”

Texas State University and the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association also sent their condolences online.

The crashThe aircraft that crashed Monday evening was from Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452, Marine Air Group-49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, according to the Marine Forces Reserve. The flight originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and was supporting a requirement to transport personnel and equipment from there to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif. Equipment on board included various small arms ammunition and personal weapons, according to the Marine Forces Reserve, and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was deployed at the scene as a precaution in the interest of safety.

The crash is the deadliest Marine Corps air disaster since 2005, when a transport helicopter went down during a sandstorm in Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a sailor.

"On behalf of the entire Marine Corps, I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the aircraft mishap yesterday afternoon in Mississippi,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said Tuesday in a statement. “Please keep the families of our 16 fallen service members in your thoughts and prayers. Our focus remains on notifying and supporting the families while we conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this tragedy."

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning: “Marine Plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!”


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