Japanese naval vessel finds body of ejected US marine from fighter jet

KOCHI, Japan, Dec. 9: A Japanese naval vessel found the body of a U.S. Marine Corps pilot who ejected from his fighter jet during a training mission on Wednesday, after an extensive 24-hour search-and-rescue effort by U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft.

The body of Marine Capt. Jake Frederick was found early Thursday by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ship and brought to Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa where he was pronounced dead.

 Frederick ejected from his F/A-18 Hornet about 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan, during the regularly-schedule training mission, though officials say they are still unsure what caused the crash.

An immediate search-and-rescue mission was launched by Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Marines after Frederick ejected from the jet around 6:40 p.m. local time, including another F/A-18 that had been flying alongside him until it started running out of fuel.

The effort eventually grew to include three Japanese ships and several aircraft, as well as the USS Montford Point and guided-missile destroyer USS Wilbur Curtis before he was spotted 1:05 a.m. Thursday morning.

“We will provide more releasable information after the 24-hour window,” the Marine Corps said in a press release. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends o the pilot.”