Capt. Jahmar Resilard and Capt. Austin Smith were participating in a training exercise over the Pacific Ocean under the cover of the night. Inside a fighter jet, they were following a fuel tanker along with another aircraft. With all three planes operating with their lights off, the two jets were supposed to connect to fuel hoses trailing behind the tanker. Numerous reports of unfinished repairs, expired certifications, and minimal and rushed training exercises all contributed to the events that followed. When the three aircraft collided, possibly due to a pilot’s malfunctioning night goggles, five Marines went down in the crashed aircraft and two were ejected into the water.
The Crossroads of Special Operations