A 26-year-old from Maine has been named as one of the three marines who went missing after an Osprey aircraft crashed off the coast of Queensland on Saturday.
Lt. Benjamin Robert Cross, an aviator in the marines, was identified by his older brother, Ryan Cross, in an interview with a CBS reporter in the US.
It is believed one of the other missing men is Osprey crew chief Corporal Nathan Ordway, from Wichita, Kansas.
The US Marine Osprey aircraft is believed to have struck trouble while attempting to land on a transport ship, smashing into its deck and sliding into the ocean off the coast of central Queensland.
“It’s something that you hope that you never have to experience. Every military family knows in the back of their mind there’s always a possibility. You hope it will never happen to you,” he told CBS.
Mr Cross said the local community had been supporting the family since they learned the tragic news.
“Luckily, we have a great support network of family and friends. The community has been amazing just the outpouring of support we received from everyone. Everyone immediately asked what can they do to help.”
He said his brother had the “highest moral character” and was “devoted” to the Marine Corps.
“It probably sounds cliché, but you know, words really can’t describe my little brother.
“He’s the type of person that everybody, the type of friend everybody wishes they had had the type of person everybody wishes they knew.
“The highest moral character — just the most caring, compassionate, empathetic individual I’ve ever met. He would do anything for anybody that needed it, so selfless.
“My brother, all through high school knew he wanted to be a pilot in the military ... it had been his dream.
“He’s always been interested in all things aerial, aeronautical - loved roller coasters and all things math or science so it was kind of a natural fit for him,” he said.
Lt. Cross attended the Virginia Military Institute on a full Naval scholarship.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland stood willing to offer any support the US defence force needed.
“Of course our hospitals have been offered for those that are severely injured,” she said.
“But also we have said that any assistance that’s needed from the State we are happy to provide.”
“We’ve had many US marines in Queensland over the past couple of weeks enjoying Queensland hospitality,” she said.
“To hear of this tragic incident occurring of the Queensland coast has, I think, sent shockwaves through a lot of Queenslanders.”