Grieving family "immensely proud" of fallen marine

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The helicopter wreckage remains on its side in the middle of the sand bar in Kaneohe Bay, two days after it crashed.  Thursday a team of investigators were out at the site.  A boat also appeared to pull something from the area and take it back to the Marine Corps Base.

A Navy salvage team says it's developing a plan to provide, "a safe and expeditious response, with full consideration for protecting the environment."

The base also released the name of the marine that died in the crash.  Cpl. Jonathan Faircloth was 22 years old.  He was the youngest of three kids in his family and was the youngest one on the helicopter, but his family says he had a maturity about him that helped him make the most of his years.

Jonathan Faircloth knew he wanted to be a marine and he had an honest conversation with his parents when he was in high school.

"He was going to go to college, but he talked to me and his mother and he said if, 'I go to college I'm just going to get into trouble.' He said, 'I need more structure,'" recalled Dean Faircloth, Jonathan's dad.

And so it was.  Right after graduation the kind, colorful, fun loving kid from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania became a mechanic working on aircrafts. He was also a door gunner and aerial observer.  His dad says he loved being a marine.

"He was very happy where he was and we all knew that. With him being so far away and his multiple deployments to Iraq and then Afghanistan, we always knew that his heart was in what he was doing and that he was happy," said the elder Faircloth.

Cpl. Faircloth was married last January to the sister of a fellow marine. He and his wife Alicia lived in Kailua and enjoyed spending time outdoors hiking and at the beach.

Jon's father did too and recalled his last trip from Pennsylvania to Hawaii in October.

"We were very blessed in that the last time we were with Jon we had three weeks uninterrupted with him," said Dean Faircloth.

He also says the last time he spoke with his son by phone was the day the helicopter went down.

"His last words were 'I love you, dad,'" said an emotional Faircloth.  "It was nice. He was only 22, but he didn't waste his life. He built something with it. We're proud of him. I know the Marine Corps' proud of him and they've been very good to us and we're proud of the Corps also.  We are immensely proud."

Mr. Faircloth says investigators told him the helicopter had mechanical failure.  That something on the helicopter malfunctioned causing it to go down.

A memorial service for Cpl. Faircloth is planned for April 7 on base.

The other three crewmembers on board are still hospitalized in stable condition and are said to be recovering.

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