MIRAMAR, Fla. – Relatives and friends of 28-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard are waiting for his body to return home to South Florida.
Resilard, a Broward County native, was a pilot assigned to "the Bats" of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242. His last flight was in a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet off the coast of Japan. It ended with a midair collision early Thursday morning.
According to the Marine Corps, the supersonic plane designated for aircraft carrier duty collided about 2 a.m. with a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft used for refueling and other air-to-air missions.
The U.S. Marine Corps was able to recover the bodies of Resilard and another Marine. While Resilard's family was in mourning, the Marine Corps was still searching for five other Marines who vanished after the crash.
"We lost a great one," his cousin Brandon Alexander wrote on Facebook.
Gov. Rick Scott ordered the lowering of flags in honor of Resilard's bravery and legacy of service.
"Capt. Resilard defended the freedom and democracy of not only the United States but of families in nations across the globe," Scott said in a statement. "The loss of Capt. Resilard is a somber reminder of the danger our servicemen and women both home and abroad place themselves in every day to keep us safe."
Resilard, a Miramar High School graduate, was a former member of the Broward County Public Schools' Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary unit for the Air Force. In a statement, Lt. Col. James Compton, the squadron commander, said Resilard went on to become a caring and dedicated leader.
"His warm and charismatic nature bound us together and we will miss him terribly," Compton said in a statement. "We honor his service and his contribution to the Marine Corps and our great nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Resilard was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
According to the Department of Defense, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The U.S. military was busy in the area this week, as the Trump administration was pushing back against Russia on the seas and in the air. Tensions heightened with Russia's militarization of the waters near the Sea of Japan.
"Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a dangerous escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity," Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told CNN on Thursday.
According to the Pentagon, the U.S. Air Force OC-135 observation aircraft conducted an "extraordinary flight" Thursday and the U.S. Navy sailed the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell in disputed waters.