MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
Two Marine pilots
conducting routine training during the semi-annual Weapons and Tactics
Instructor Course hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One
were killed as a result of an AH-1Z Viper helicopter crash aboard
MCAS Yuma training grounds, at approximately 8:45 p.m. (PST), March 30,
"It is a somber day for the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force Training
Command as we mourn this tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers
remain with their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult
time," said Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., commanding general, MAGTFTC,
Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, was a pilot assigned
to MAWTS-1, Yuma, Arizona. Wiegand joined the Marine Corps in 2008. He held
qualifications in the AH-1W Super Cobra and AH-1Z Viper.
Wiegand's previous duty stations include Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.,
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and MCAS Yuma, Ariz.
Wiegand previously deployed in support of a Unit Deployment Program in
Okinawa, Japan. He participated in numerous bi-lateral exercises with Joint
and Foreign partners. His personal decorations included the Navy and Marine
Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award.
Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee, was a pilot assigned
to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group
24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Brannon was attending
Weapons and Tactics Instructor course 2-19.
Brannon's previous duty stations include Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.,
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Brannon participated in Marine Rotational Force Darwin, Northern Territory,
Australia. His personal decorations include the Global War on Terrorism
Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
"We join the families of Maj. Wiegand and Capt. Brannon in mourning the loss
of a loved one," said Col. Kelvin W. Gallman, commanding officer of MAWTS-1.
"Our most valued assets are the individual Marines and our primary focus is
supporting the families during this difficult time."
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
For more information pertaining to Maj. Wiegand, please contact Capt.
Gabriel Adibe at MCASYuma_media@usmc.mil or at 928-269-5505.
For more information pertaining to Capt. Brannon, please contact Capt. Eric
Abrams at email@example.com or at 808-257-0610.