LEOMINSTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Friday, a Massachusetts native Marine and three others lost their lives during a training flight in Bodø, Norway while training in the NATO program Exercise Cold Response 2022.
27-year-old Captain Ross Reynolds of Leominster was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, serving as an Osprey pilot and was among the over 30,000 soldiers from 27 countries that participate in the ECR. According to Norwegian officials, the exercise was a long-planned and defensive practice in which military personnel train under harsh winter conditions.
The United State Marine Corps. said in a statement that the four Marine died in a flight crash and were in the process of being returned to the U.S. The cause of the crash is under investigation, officials said.
"The pilots and crew were committed to accomplishing their mission and serving a cause greater than themselves. We will continue to execute the mission while keeping these Marines and their service on the forefront of our minds. We will never allow these Marines' sacrifice to go unnoticed or unappreciated," said Major General Michael Cederholm, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in a letter to his Marines and their families.
Reynolds joined the Marine Corps in May of 2017, and earned medals including the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and multiple certificates and letters of appreciation, officials said.
"We are broken hearted, left trying to imagine our lives without Ross. We are in shock and are devastated by his loss. We will miss his smile, his hugs, and his laughter. We will miss his energy and goodness," the family of Reynolds said in a statement.
"The Marines who tragically passed in the accident are all heroes. We honor his service to our nation and pray for his family," Governor Charlie Baker said on Sunday.
The Mayor of Leominster Dean Mazzarella said his condolences to the captain and pilot's family in a statement on Sunday, remembering Reynolds' time as an Eagle Scout.
"Ross and his family were active in scouting and could always be front and center at all of our Veterans And community events with Ross usually holding the flag," Mazzarella said. The mayor went on to say that the Leominster community stands ready to assist Reynolds' mother, father, sister, and his wife Lana.
Captain Matthew Tomkiewicz of Indiana, Gunnery Sergeant James Speedy of Ohio, and Corporal Jacob Moore of Kentucky, died in the crash with Captain Reynolds.
WBZ's John Baiback (@JohnBaiback) reports.