The son of former Major League Baseball player Steve Sax was one of five marines killed during an aircraft crash Wednesday in California.
Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, Cali. and four crew members died when their Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed during a training exercise in Imperial County.
"It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was on of the five (5) US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8, in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego," Steve Sax said in a statement. "For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country."
According to the New York Post, the marines were based in Camp Pendleton and had been engaging in a live fire exercise in Glamis. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
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The marines killed in the crash include Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Illinois; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of New Hampshire; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Wyoming; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of New Mexico.
"We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic mishap," said Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in a statement. "Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they copy with this tragedy."
Steve Sax played 14 seasons in MLB from 1981 to 1994, spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The five-time All-Star also played three seasons with the New York Yankees and had stints with the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics.
"There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly!" Sax said in his statement. "I am so proud of the man he became and so proud to call him my son! This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!"