Family member of one of Marines killed in helicopter crash criticizes decision to fly during storm

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — Bradford Moulton is the uncle of Cpt. Benjamin Moulton, one of five Marines killed last week when the helicopter they were flying from Nevada to MCAS Miramar crashed in Pine Valley during a storm.

“He was just a good, good kid and it’s just a tragedy that that he’s gone over a stupid mistake,” Bradford Moulton said.

Bradford says he can’t understand why the go-ahead was given for takeoff.

“They shouldn’t have been off the ground, it was a training mission, they could have waited four or five hours till the storm passed and then go,” he said.

Bradford says the storm was highly volatile and had hurricane force winds.

“These helicopters, they were flying, they don’t have defrosters on the windshields, if their rotors ice up they’re going down, they were flying in an altitude of 5,400 feet which is right where the snow and the rain mixes,” he said. “And when ice accumulates on rotor blades, it disrupts their ability to create lift for the helicopter that could be an issue that they were dealing with at the time.”

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Attorney Timothy Loranger is a Marine vet with experience as a pilot and aircraft mechanic. He says investigators will closely look at whether the Marines onboard had other problems with the helicopter.

“It could have been any number of other mechanical issues that came up at a very bad time when they were flying in challenging conditions that take a lot of pilot resources and attention, and if they experienced another mechanical issue or a mechanical issue, they would be hard pressed to deal with both things and that may have led to this,” Loranger said.

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Meanwhile, the families of those Marines wait for answers as they honor their loved ones.

“He was going to be a marine if it killed him… well, he made it to Marine and they killed him, that’s all we can say,” Bradford said.

The remains of those Marines have been transferred to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where families will attend a private ceremony.

The military is investigating the crash.

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