Report reveals new details in deadly crash that killed NM Marine

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new report shows what went wrong during a military training exercise that killed five people, including a young man from New Mexico.

Instead of celebrating his birthday with him this weekend, his family is visiting his grave.

The crash involved a military aircraft that people sometimes see in New Mexico. We’re talking about a Marine Osprey crash from 2022 that happened near San Diego.

This type of aircraft is used by the Air Force and the Navy. In New Mexico, Kirtland Air Force Base is used as a training facility for them. Ospreys are assigned to Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis. 

On Saturday, KOB 4 spoke with the parents of one of the flight crew who was killed in that crash. 

“One of the things that we discussed during our process was, ‘How do we remember him?'” said Wayland Strickland, Evan’s father. 

Wayland and his wife, Michelle Strickland, have been grieving for the last year. After losing their son, Marine Lance Corporal Evan Strickland in an Osprey crash near San Diego. 

“The old saying of you die twice when you’re, you know, when you physically pass away, and your soul leaves, and when someone speaks your name for the last time,” said Wayland. 

Since then, they’ve channeled their grief into a podcast – sharing about Evan, and creating a safe space to talk about grief and loss. 

Now, a 400-page report has been released about the deadly crash that took all five members of Swift 11. 

“You don’t want any one individual to bear that burden of feeling like they caused this accident,” said Michelle Strickland.  

The Stricklands say there was a lot of anxiety leading up to the report, but now they finally know what happened to their son. 

“The event mishap was caused by a dual-hard clutch engagement, combined with a single engine ICDS failure. And once the events occurred, there was nothing that crew would have been able to do,” said Wayland. 

The report calls the crash “unanticipated, unrecoverable, and a catastrophic mechanical failure.” It also says there was nothing the crew could’ve done to save themselves. 

Now, the Stricklands want change, and a permanent fix to the issue. 

“Hopefully now they’ll be able to prioritize it a little bit better. It’s not going anywhere, it’s too valuable for national defense and national security,” Wayland said. 

The investigation found, since 2010, there’s been 16 similar clutch problems. It says there’s been five fatal crashes since 2012, with 16 total deaths.

For now, the Stricklands just celebrated what would’ve been Evan’s 21st birthday. 

“We have goats, he would love to go out there and just play with the goats. You just sit there and talk to him, you know, frogs, cats, dogs, anything,” said Wayland. 

And hope to help others who have lost a loved one. 

“For me, it’s not necessarily closure, it’s a closure of a chapter, and gives you more focus to move forward,” said Wayland. 

In February 2023, the Marine Corp started replacing a piece of equipment, and there haven’t been any similar issues since then. 

Back in August 2023, a majority of U.S. Ospreys were grounded while the issue was being looked into. 

The Marine Corp says the root cause of the clutch failure still hasn’t been identified.