Friday, April 13, 2012

South Jersey Marine killed in Osprey crash

SALEM — A Woodstown native was one of two U.S. Marines killed Wednesday during a military training exercise in Morocco, military officials said today.

Cpl. Derek A. Kerns, 21, died in the crash of an MV-22 Osprey.

Kerns was a  MV-22 crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 26MV-22 based at New River Air Station in North Carolina.

A Marine spokesman said that the Osprey crashed in a training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, after taking off from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima.

Kerns joined the Marine Corps from Fort Dix in September 2008 and was promoted to the rank of corporal in December 2010.

His awards include the Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a certificate of appreciation.

He was a Woodstown High School graduate. Family friends said he had just married in January and has a 3-month-old son.

Kerns’ mother, Carol, lives in Woodstown.

The 10-day exercise is to end April 17 and involves about 1,200 U.S. military personnel.

The other Marine killed was Cpl. Robby Reyes of Los Angeles.  Two other Marines were also injured.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

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