First funeral held for Marine killed in military plane crash
COLTS NECK, N.J. (AP) - A Marine killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi has been laid to rest in New Jersey.
Hundreds of mourners attended Tuesday's funeral for 20-year-old Cpl. Dan Baldassare, which was held at Colts Neck High School's football field. Baldassare graduated from the school in 2015 and played on its football team for four years.
Baldassare was among 15 Marines and a Navy sailor who died when the military transport plane slammed into soybean fields in the Mississippi Delta on July 10. His body was transported from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Monday to a funeral home in Freehold.
He was stationed at the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
Among those speaking at his funeral was his girlfriend of about four years, Devin Goldring.
Goldring, who lives in New York City, said she had been running laps around the football field's track when Baldassare saw her and began cheering her on. She said they began dating a couple of months later "after Dan wore me down" and they eventually became "inseparable."
Fellow Marines described Baldassare as driven, hardworking and tenacious, but they also noted his humorous side, citing his "big, goofy smile" and infectious laughter. They noted that he often would slide in through the barrack doors at the last minute, shirking the advice that he should be inside at least 15 minutes before curfew.
They also said he was known to saunter into a friend's room under the pretense of delivering important news but would then snatch food from the refrigerator and run off.