LEFLORE COUNTY, MS – Just one day a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130T crashed into a Mississippi field, a man stopped on the side of the highway to and played “Taps” to honor the 16 service members killed, FOX13 reports.
“I’m out here today to show my respect for the fallen. Felt in my heart to come out and honor them,” David Weeks, a military supporter, told FOX13.
“Taps” is normally played at the funerals for service men and women, but Weeks said he couldn’t wait until they were laid to rest.
“Yeah these men and women join the service not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of our country. They made the sacrifices willing to just lay everything on the line,” Weeks said.
Debris from the crash was scattered for miles, and federal and local officials have spent the past day combing the field for clues.
Fifteen Marines and a Navy sailor were killed in the crash. Six of the Marines and the sailor were from an elite Marine Raider battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and were headed for pre-deployment training in Yuma, Arizona, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.
The crash happened outside the small town of Itta Bena about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of the state capital of Jackson. Bodies were found more than a mile from the plane.
The Marine Corps said the cause was under investigation and offered no information on whether the plane issued a distress call.
FBI agents joined military investigators, though Marine Maj. Andrew Aranda told reporters no foul play was suspected.
“They are looking at the debris and will be collecting information off of that to figure out what happened,” Aranda said. The county coroner, meanwhile, ferried more body bags into fields to remove remains.
The KC-130 is used to refuel aircraft in flight and transport cargo and troops.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.