Marines killed in helicopter crash near Yuma identified

YUMA, AZ - Authorities have identified seven Marines who died when two helicopters collided Wednesday night during training near Yuma.

Families across the country are mourning the victims who came from cities as far east as Montville, Conn. west to Spokane, Wash.

The two helicopters, an AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1 Huey belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Six Marines were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The seventh victim was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

  • Maj. Thomas A. Budrejko, 37, of Montville, Conn., commissioned in the Marine Corps May 24, 1996 and served as an AH-1W Cobra pilot and Executive Officer of HMLA-469.
  • Capt. Michael M. Quin, 28, of Purcellville, Va., commissioned in the Marine Corps May 26, 2006 and served as a UH-1Y Huey pilot.
  • Capt. Benjamin N. Cerniglia, 31, of Montgomery, Ala., commissioned in the Marine Corps December 14, 2007 and served as an AH-1W Cobra pilot.
  • Sgt. Justin A. Everett, 33, of Clovis, Calif., enlisted in the Marine Corps February 19, 2002 and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard UH-1Y Hueys.
  • Lance Cpl. Corey A. Little , 25, of Marietta, Ga., enlisted in the Marine Corps March 30, 2009 and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard UH-1Y Hueys.
  • Lance Cpl. Nickoulas H. Elliott, 21, of Spokane, Wash., enlisted in the Marine Corps May 4, 2009 and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard UH-1Y Hueys.Capt. Nathan W. Anderson, 32, of Amarillo, Texas, commissioned in the Marine Corps December 20, 2002 and served as a UH-1Y Huey pilot.
  • Capt. Nathan W. Anderson, 32, of Amarillo, Texas, commissioned in the Marine Corps December 20, 2002 and served as a UH-1Y Huey pilot. Anderson was stationed in Yuma and leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 9 and 10.

The Huey and Cobra helicopters collided mid-air around 8 p.m. Wednesday in a rugged area of the Chocolate Mountains, about 65 miles northwest of Yuma.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

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