One of the three U.S. Marines killed in an aircraft training exercise in Australia Sunday was a Colorado native.
A V-22B Osprey with 23 Marines on board crashed in tropical forest on Melville Island during a drill with members of the Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor militaries.
U.S. Marine Corps Major Tobin J. Lewis, 37, was one of three people who died in the crash. The other two individuals were 29-year-old Osprey pilot Capt. Eleanor V. Beau, of Illinois, and 21-year-old Cpl. Spencer R. Collart, of Virginia.
A verified GoFundMe is helping the three families.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of three respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family,” Col. Brendan Sullivan, commanding officer of MRF-D, said in a news release from Marine Rotational Force-Darwin. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and with all involved."
Lewis was born and raised in Conifer. He studied aviation at Liberty University before he joined the U.S. Marines in August 2008. He was then promoted to the rank of major in October of 2018.
Lewis received two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
On Tuesday, Jeffco Public Schools said Lewis graduated from Conifer High School in 2004.
"He was a stand-out wrestler in Jeffco and Conifer’s flag is at half-staff for the rest of the week," a spokesperson said. "Conifer High School will be honoring him with a moment of silence before the national anthem at Friday night’s football game vs. Glenwood Springs."
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Three of the injured survivors from the crash remain in the hospital as of Tuesday morning, with one person in critical condition.
The United States has based up to 2,500 Marines in the Australian city of Darwin for six months a year since 2012 as part of the U.S. military pivot to Asia to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.