Former Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax’s son was among the five people killed during a military aircraft crash on Wednesday.
Capt. John J. Sax, the son of Steve Sax, was one of the crew members of the Osprey tiltrotor aircraft that crashed in Imperial County, California.
Steve Sax told CBS Los Angeles that his son was on board the aircraft.
“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,” Sax said.
“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,” he added.
Steve Sax said that his son wanted to be a pilot since he was a kid and talked about the different planes flying in the sky when playing Little Leauge baseball.
“There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly!” Sax said in the statement. “This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”
The Los Angeles Dodgers tweeted that the baseball organization is saddened to hear about Sax’s loss.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to hear about the passing of Steve Sax’s son, John, and the five Marines who lost their lives in this week’s tragic helicopter accident. Our thoughts and condolences go out to their families and friends,” the statement reads.
Capt. John J. Sax was among the five people who died, which include Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia.
A statement from the Marine Aircraft Wing Communication Strategy and Operations office said that Losapio and Sax were pilots of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft MAW), and the other individuals were crew chiefs.
“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, according to the statement.
“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,” Miller added. “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.”
John J. Sax leaves behind his wife, Amber, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s second child. He also leaves behind his daughter, who is 20-months-old.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.