On Plane: 1 Long Wanted To Be A Marine, 1 Close To Retiring

(AP) – The 15 Marines and a Navy sailor killed in a plane crash Monday in Mississippi came from all over the country. Six of the Marines and the sailor were from an elite Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune. Nine were based out of Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York, home of a Marine Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron.

Here are brief portraits of some of the victims:

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Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Johnson, 46, told his father he had the best job in the Marine Corps.

Kevin Johnson of Colchester, Vermont, recalled his son said, “I get to fly everywhere.”

Brendan Johnson joined the Marines after graduating from Johnson State College. Johnson’s father said he was based at Stewart, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and touring many countries. A fine arts major, Johnson once surprised the family with portraits he painted based on old pictures of his grandfather and father-in-law when they graduated from Navy boot camp.

The elder Johnson said his son, who was taking on more administrative work, was looking to retire next year, possibly returning to school for a master’s degree and then move from Newburgh, New York, to Montana, home to his wife Anna. He said Brendan loved the outdoors and was considering a job as a park ranger or a fish and game warden.

“He was thinking of looking into that, but he said, ‘You know, I’ve got some time,'” Johnson said. “We’ll miss him.”

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Sgt. Julian Kevianne, 31, joined the Marines in 2009 because he wanted to protect and defend the country, his brother told the Detroit Free Press.

“The Marines knocked on my mother’s door at 2 this morning,” Carlo Kevianne said late Tuesday. “They said his plane went down, and they weren’t able to find him.”

A new concrete walkway was poured Tuesday at Carlo Kevianne’s home. Julian’s mother, Tina Albo, carved a tribute to her late son: “Peace of my heart is in heaven.”

John Allen, a cousin of Kevianne, told The Detroit News that Kevianne talked about joining the military when he was younger. Allen said Kevianne could be quiet with people he didn’t know, “but once he was comfortable with you, he was a loud blast of fun.”

“He was a great brother, son and friend,” said Allen, who said he hadn’t seen his cousin since 2009. “And I know he would of been a great father to his few-month-old child.”

Kevianne was based at Stewart.

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Owen Lennon, 26, grew up in Pomona, New York, playing football and tennis for Ramapo High School in Rockland County before graduating in 2008.

A man answering the phone at the family’s home in Pomona confirmed the death to The Journal News, but said the family was grieving and declined to comment.

Lennon’s sister, Kelly Lennon, posted a remembrance on Facebook, saying, “You may have been the youngest, but we always looked up to you. Our hero, Owen Lennon. (broken heart) sending love to the other USMC families that lost loved ones last night.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 

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