Navy officer killed in helicopter accident identified

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SAN DIEGO -- A 32-year-old Navy Officer and flight surgeon who died after being struck by a spinning helicopter blade at Camp Pendleton was identified Sunday.

Lt. James A. Mazzuchelli was a flight surgeon assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, according to a statement issued by military officials.

"My heart goes out to our Sailor and his family as we support them through this difficult time," Maj. Gen. Mark Wise said.

Mazzuchelli was a native of Orange Park, Florida and was commissioned in the Navy in June 2010. He was deployed to Japan in 2016.

"Lt. James Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and sailor," said Col. Matthew Mowery, commander of MAG-39. "His contagious enthusiasm, motivation and love for the Marines and sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG- 39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends.

"His willingness to join the Navy and elect to serve faithfully with the Marines should give a sense of pride to all of us who serve our country that we are surrounded by heroes every day. James and his contribution to our Corps will be sorely missed," Mowery continued.

The accident occurred around 6 p.m. Wednesday. The sailor was struck by a spinning UH-1Y "Venom" tail rotor blade, according to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing public affairs.

Paramedics took Mazzuchelli to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead at about 5:45 a.m. Saturday -- a little more than two days after the incident.

The incident remains under investigation.

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