Vermont Family Mourns Marine Killed in Military Plane Crash

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The family of Gunnery Sergeant Brendan Johnson is waiting for answers as to what caused a KC-130 aircraft to suddenly crash Monday in Mississippi.

Investigators says it’s still too soon to say what caused the transport plane to collide with a Mississippi farm field on its way to Arizona. Military officials on Wednesday say the aircraft likely developed problems while high in the air.

"Indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude and there is a large debris pattern... On board were 16 great Americans representing the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy,” said Brigade General Bradley James, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.

Among the fallen, 46 year-old Brendan Johnson a Colchester native.

"It’s been tough, I mean this was not expected I did not expect to outlive my son I thought he'd outlive me,” said Kevin Johnson, Brendan’s father.

Kevin spoke to Local 22/Local 44 over the phone Wednesday from his home in Colchester. He says his son graduated from Colchester High School in 1989 and then went onto Johnson State College before joining the marines in 1995 as a loadmaster.

Kevin said, "He used to say dad I've got the best job in the corps, I get to go visit all over the place and all over the world."

Kevin says Brendan and his wife Anna did not have children, but often welcomed his younger colleagues into their home.

"The younger marines that were low on the totem pole, if they couldn't get leave close to Thanksgiving or Christmas. He said 'come on you'll have a turkey dinner with us, you don't have to go to the mess hall,” said Kevin.

Senator Patrick Leahy shared his condolences with the Johnson family saying in part, "Dedicated Americans like Brendan and his fellow service members daily demonstrate the best America has to offer."

Kevin said, "I keep thinking he was a kid but he kept directing me saying 'dad the kids work for me now, I am not a kid anymore'... He was a great kid, he is going to be missed."

Brendan planned on retiring sometime next year and had talked about moving to Montana to become a park ranger.

Investigators in Mississippi say the investigation could take up to a week to complete.

 


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