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Jacksonville U.S. Marine among 16 killed in military plane crash

Updated:

A Jacksonville Marine was among 16 military members killed when an air tanker crashed in Mississippi this week.

The KC-130 air tanker was carrying members of an elite Marine special operations unit to Arizona for training when it crashed in a soybean field in Itta Bena Monday.

Joseph Murray of Jacksonville was among fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor killed, his pastor confirmed to Action News Jax.

The plane was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. Officials said some of those killed were from the base.

Officials said six of the Marines and the sailor were from an elite Marine Raider battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

They were headed to Yuma, Arizona for pre-deployment training.

The crash was the deadliest Marine crash in the U.S. or abroad since 2005. 

The plane suffered a catastrophic failure at 20,000 feet and plunged out of the sky.

Murray was married with four small children, Donny Hutto, pastor at Atlantic Beach Assembly of God, told Action News Jax.

Murray's twins just turned 1 year old and he had two other children, ages 3 and 5.

Hutto said Murray's father was retired military, and that Murray had been attending Atlantic Beach Assembly of God since he was 10 years old.

Murray was never stationed in Jacksonville. He moved to North Carolina to join the Marines, Hutto said.

“He went all in with the Marines, it’s like he found his passion,” Hutto said. 

Hutto said the church family is rallying around Murray's family. Funeral arrangements are pending. 

Action News Jax reporter Erica Bennett is working to learn more about Murray and his life in Jacksonville.

Follow her on Twitter at @EricaANjax and watch Action News Jax for the latest details.