SURPRISE, AZ — The remains of a Marine from Arizona have been recovered and formally identified following an aircraft mishap in Japan in December 2018.
Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, a 27-year-old from Surprise, was among five service members killed when a refueling plane collided with a fighter jet off the Japanese Coast last year.
A marine salvage effort was conducted at the end of May into the beginning of June, during which crews recovered the bodies of Staff Sgt. Flores, as well as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann and Maj. James M. Brophy from North Carolina and New York.
Their remains will reportedly be released to their families.
"Staff Sgt. Maximo Flores always wanted to serve his country as a United States Marine, eventually enlisting in 2009. His passionate and dedicated service was recognized with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one bronze star," Congresswoman Debbie Lesko said after the incident.
Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on December 12, 2018, to honor the Marine's life and service. Ducey also said flags will be lowered on the day of interment, which has not been set.
Officials say the cause of the crash is still under investigation and the remains of two other occupants, 21-year-old Cpl. Daniel E. Baker of Illinois and 21-year-old Cpl. William C. Ross of Tennessee, have yet to be recovered.