The U.S. military has identified a Dutchess County man as one of five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan's southern coast.
Search and recovery operations have ended after finding only one survivor, who was aboard the fighter jet.
Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, was among the five crew members identified Wednesday were on a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft that collided with an F/A-18 Hornet during regular training. The warplanes crashed into the sea south of Japan's Shikoku island.
In a statement, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said in part, "We are profoundly saddened to learn of the passing of James M. Brophy of Staatsburg. Major Brophy defended our nation and our liberty, and will forever be remembered as an American hero who selflessly sacrificed to protect our homeland."
He also ordered flags to remain at half-staff at all Dutchess County buildings in honor of Major Brophy. Spectrum News spoke with Molinaro Wednesday, as he still processed the news.
“Today organizations and families all across the Dutchess County, want to show their love and compassion,” Molinaro said.
Tributes to Brophy sprung up all over Dutchess County on Wednesday.
“When tragedy strikes you begin to wonder why, but this man gave his life and service to his community, his family, and his country. There is no way to explain why this loss occurred,” Molinaro said.
Brophy graduated from Roosevelt high school in 2001. The Hyde Park Superintendent said he was in the honor society, jazz band, and was a stand out on the track and cross-country teams.
“He wanted to serve this nation. In doing so, [he] will sadly and tragically be remembered, but will always be an American hero,” Molinaro said.
Since Brophy's father, Michael, served with the Poughkeepsie Fire Department for 40 years, there could be shows of solidarity outside fire-houses throughout the county.
In addition to Brophy, the Marine Corps also identified other crew members as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, North Carolina; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Arizona; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Illinois; and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tennessee.