Former MLB second baseman Steve Sax said Saturday that his 33-year-old son was among five U.S. Marines killed during a training flight crash in California earlier this week.
Capt. John J. Sax and the other Marines were in an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, which went down during a training session in Imperial County, approximately 115 miles east of San Diego, per ESPN.
“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,” Steve Sax said in a statement, via CBSLA-TV. “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.”
Steve Sax said his son’s dream was always to be a pilot, which he often talked about as a young kid.
“There was never any doubt from a young age that Johnny would be a pilot and his passion was to fly!” Steve Sax said. “This loss will change my life forever and is a loss to not only the Marines but this world!”
John J. Sax was one of two pilots killed in the crash, along with Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio. Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland were the three tiltrotor crew chiefs killed in the crash. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
A five-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, Steve Sax played 14 years in MLB, known for the eight spent with the Dodgers from 1981-88.
“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,” the Dodgers said in a tweet Saturday. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to their families and friends.”