SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The U.S. Marine Corps on Friday identified Cpt. John Sax, from Placer County — who attended Granite Bay High School — as one of the victims of an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft that crashed during training in the California desert Wednesday.

Capt. Sax is the son of former Los Angeles Dodger and five-time All Star Steve Sax.

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Capt. Sax, a pilot was 33 years old.

Steve Sax said in a statement:

“It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of the five US Marines that perished on Wednesday, June 8 in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego.”  

“For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country.” 

Credit: U.S. Marines

“Johnny Sax knew he wanted to be a pilot since his young years and would tell his Dad what types of planes were flying overhead while playing little league baseball in the outfield. There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly! I am so proud of the man he became and so proud to call him my son! This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”

John Sax served the Marine Corp for five years and eight months and was awarded with the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Letter of Appreciation.

The U.S. Marine Corps identified the five servicemembers on Friday. The Marines died when their Osprey aircraft crashed Wednesday afternoon in the Southern California desert near Glamis in Imperial County.

All five Marines were based at Marine Corps Air Station in Camp Pendleton.

Also killed were pilot Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire and three tiltrotor crew chiefs: Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico.

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“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family” said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, Commanding Officer of VMM-364. 

“This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families. Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time. We appreciate all the prayers and support from the strong extended Purple Fox family and want them to know that more information will be forthcoming on how to help.”

Steve Sax played baseball at high school in West Sacramento before being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1978.  He won two World Series with the Dodgers and made five All Star teams in his career.  He also played for the White Sox, A's and Yankees.

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