Dutchess County mourns loss of third serviceman in training exercise in two years

December 12, 2018 11:38 PM

Dutchess County is mourning the loss of a beloved community member. Staatsburg native, Major James Brophy, 36, has been identified as one of the five Marines killed in the plane wreck that happened off the coast of Japan last week.

Brophy served in the Marines for 12 years. On December 6 he was aboard a refueling aircraft that collided with a fighter jet during a training exercise.

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Brophy is the third serviceman from Dutchess County to have died in a training exercise in the last two years. That reflects a much greater trend in military training deaths climbing in recent years.

The National Defense Authorization Act found that between 2015 and 2017 186 servicemen and women died in training, compared to 44 in combat. Experts say that could be due to older equipment and shortened training times.

Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson, a 45-year-old Fishkill native, was one of 16 killed when their KC-130T went down in Georgia soybean field on July 10, 2017.

Just last week investigators said that crash was caused by corroded broken propeller and poor maintenance.

A 28-year-old Navy tech from Poughkeepsie named Corey Ingram was killed aboard the USS John McCain. On August 21, the ship collided with a 600-pound tanker off the coast of Malaysia. Ingram was one of 10 sailors who died in the crash.

A report on that crash found it was, "avoidable and resulted primarily from complacency, over-confidence and lack of procedural compliance."

The United States Marine Corps said they're investigating the Dec. 6 “mishap.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said there will come a time when more answers are needed.

"There is a time and a place certainly to understand what happened in this particular training exercise and to make sure that we're taking the greatest amount of precautions to protect those men and women who sacrifice for us,” Molinaro said.

But Molinaro said right now, in the midst of the holiday season, the focus needs to be on grieving Brophy's death.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Senator Chuck Schumer's office on Wednesday afternoon to ask about the rising numbers of servicemen and women killed in training, but did not get any response.

NOTE: The July 2017 crash in Mississippi also killed Marine Major Caine Goyette who was from Waterford.


Emily Burkhard

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