SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. military publicly identified a Miramar-based Marine Corps pilot who was killed in a plane crash in England following a six-month deployment in the Middle East.
Maj. Taj Sareen, 34, was in transit with his squadron when the F/A-18C Hornet combat jet he was flying went down in farmland near a Royal Air Force station in Suffolk for unknown reasons about 2:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday, USMC officials said.
Sareen, a member of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, had been overseas as part of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Central Command 15.2, in support of allied military interventions against the Islamic State.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fellow Marines of Maj. Sareen, and we are currently providing support to those affected by this tragic incident,'' said Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Sareen, a native of Hillsborough in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Marine Corps in February 2005. In 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
His personal awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and an Air Medal Strike/Flight “5.''
The cause of the crash is under investigation.