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U.S. Marines in helicopter crash identified

February 17, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The U.S. Marines whose military helicopter crashed in the Chocolate Mountains in eastern Imperial County Thursday were part of a unit assigned to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, military officials reported late Friday.

Officials also identified those Marines killed and wounded in the crash.

Killed were Capt. Theodore S. Treadwell, 29, of Phoenix, who was the aircraft's pilot; and Staff Sgt. Roderick D. Nesmith, 30, of Cortez, Colo., who was a crew chief.

Two others aboard the UH-1N Huey helicopter were injured. They have been identified as 1st Lt. William E. Malsch, 29, of Allentown, Pa., who was the aircraft's co-pilot; and Cpl. Andrew S. Leyda, 24, of Kent, Ohio, also a crew chief.

Malsch and Leyda were both listed in fair condition at St. Joseph's Medical Center and Hospital in Phoenix as of Friday night.


All four crew members were assigned to the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, which is part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Pendleton.

The crew was on a routine training mission in the Naval gunnery range within the Chocolate Mountains in eastern Imperial County.

The helicopter crashed at about 11 p.m. Thursday. Another aircraft taking part in the exercise transported all four to Yuma Regional Medical Center.

The crash remained under investigation, and officials at Camp Pendleton said it could be some time before a cause of the crash can be determined.

Thursday's fatal crash came just days after three Marines were killed and five injured when a 5-ton truck rolled over while on a night artillery training exercise at Camp Pendleton. That accident occurred on Feb. 6.

Both training accidents follow the deaths of nine Southern California-based Marines in aviation crashes this year while supporting the war in Afghanistan.

>> The Associated Press contributed information to this article.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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