24th MEU(SOC) 1996


The MEU departed on its ninth deployment 19 April 1996. During an MEU exercise in Kuwait, the MEU became the first MEU(SOC) to put the entire landing force ashore in Kuwait without the use of a port or airfield.  This was a vital step in the validation of the plan for the defense of Kuwait, which had previously not been tested.

During training for the MEU, 10 May 1996 - Two U.S. Marine Corps helicopters collided and killed 14 servicemen in a piney swamp at Camp LeJeune, N.C. during a U.S.-British training exercise. An AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter collided with a CH-46 Sea Knight .

Twelve Marines, one sailor and Army infantryman were killed. The Marine Corps identified the Marines that were killed as Maj. Michael D. Kuszewski, 42, of Westminster, Mass.; Capt. Scott T. Rice, 28, of Springfield, Mo.; 1st Lt. Joseph R. Fandrey, 25, of Norfolk, Mass.; 1st Lt. Arthur J. Schneider, 25, of Livingston, N.J.; Cpl. Brandon J. Tucker, 23, of Gaston, N.C.; Cpl. Brian L. Collins, 22, of Louisville, Ky.; Cpl. Britt T. Stacey, 26, of Roanoke, Va.; Cpl. Erik D. Kirkland, 29, of Lewisburg, Pa.; Lance Cpl. John P. Condello, 23, of Rochester, N.Y.; Lance Cpl. Jackie D. Chidester, 23, of Newark, Ohio; Lance Cpl. Jose L. Elizarraras, 20, of Orange, Calif.; Lance Cpl. Jorge E. Malagon; 19, of Melrose Park, Ill.;The Navy Corpsman Brent W. Garmon, 20, of New Bern, N.C.; and Army Staff Sgt. Sean W. Carroll, 36, of Newburgh, N.Y.

The surviving pilots were 1st Lt. Walter W. Kulakowski of Alachua, Fla., Maj. Charles A. Johnson Jr., of Fairfax, Va.,


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