A Marine pilot stationed in Beaufort who died after ejecting from his aircraft Wednesday night off the coast of Japan has been identified.
Marine Capt. James E. Frederick was pronounced dead after his body was recovered during search operations, a Marine Corps news release said Friday morning. Frederick, 32, was from Corpus Christi, Texas, and an F/A 18 pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115. The squadron is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. Frederick had been deployed to III Marine Expeditionary Force of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
“I mourn, along with his family and the rest of the Marine Corps, for the loss of Capt. Frederick. We have lost a fine American patriot who volunteered to serve for freedom,” Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, said in a statement. “I want to sincerely thank the Japanese government for the tremendous efforts they made during search operations following the mishap.”
The incident is under investigation. Frederick had been flying a regular training mission when he ejected about 6:40 p.m. about 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, the Marine Corps said.
The overnight search for Frederick included the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japanese Coast Guard, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy surface ships.
Frederick had earned the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
He was deployed from Beaufort with the squadron of F/A 18s known as the Silver Eagles in July, MCAS spokesman Capt. Clay Groover said.
“We’re saddened by the loss of Capt. Frederick, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Groover said in an email Friday.
Frederick is survived by his wife, Kiley, a young son and another baby on the way, his mother, Donna, told Military.com.
“Flying was his dream,” she told the website. “He got to do that.”
Donations are being accepted by the Wingman Foundation on behalf of Frederick’s family “to help with travel accommodations, funeral expenses, memorial services or a direct disbursement — whatever is needed” at www.wingmanfoundation.org/frederick.
The crash is the latest in a series of recent incidents for Marine Corps’ fighter jets, some tied to Beaufort.
In October, a pilot assigned to MCAS Beaufort ejected safely after his F/A 18 Hornet touched down at the end of a flight at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
In July, a California-based Hornet went down during a training mission at the base, killing the pilot.
Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss died in June when his Blue Angels F/A 18C Hornet crashed during practice for an air show in Tennessee.
An F-35B based at MCAS Beaufort caught fire during a training mission over Beaufort in October. The pilot landed safely at the base.