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Jacksonville mourns loss of service members

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JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Barely 24 hours after news broke that seven of the 16 servicemen killed in Monday's plane crash in Mississippi were based at Camp Lejeune, the surrounding community is mourning the lives of all of those lost.

Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Brian Vinciguerra said that while service members know they put their lives on the line in service of their country, it doesn't make what happened any easier.

"What we do as marines and sailors in the service of our nation is inherently dangerous, whether it's going on a training mission as I understand these marines and sailor were or going to combat," he said. "We take into consideration every single day with everything we do that we may not come home."

While having local soldiers as part of the group that were killed brings the pain even closer to home for many, Air Force vet Mac Moody said the pain would be just as real either way.

"It stings a bit more of course but I don't think that it makes it any more of a tragedy," he said. "I've been there and know the feelings of when the loss of loved ones and colleagues and fellow members and my heart goes out to all of them."

Moody said the support of the entire community around Camp Lejeune will be critical in the days, weeks, months and even years ahead.

"The best thing we can do to help is just to support the families," he said. "Be there if they need the help. The community is going to come together. The community is going to do whatever it takes to make it."

The names of the 16 service members that were killed had initially been scheduled for release Wednesday evening, but that now has been postponed until at least Thursday. Investigators are continuing work at the crash site in rural Mississippi where the KC-130 transport plane hit during its flight from Cherry Point to a Naval Air Station in Yuma, Ariz.

The six Marines and one Navy Corpsman from Camp Lejeune were headed to Yuma to join other members of the 2d Raider Battalion for pre-deployment training in Yuma.

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