YANKY 72 Memorial Dedication Ceremony

July 12, 2018

GREENWOOD, Miss.–– The community is invited to the dedication ceremony of the YANKY 72 Memorial on July 14, 2018. The memorial will honor the 15 Marines and one Navy Corpsman that died when a Marine KC-130T aircraft crashed into the fields of Itta Bena, MS. 

The dedication ceremony will begin at 10 am at Mississippi Valley State University with the Unveiling of the Memorial Ceremony beginning at 11:30 across the street at the Leflore County Incubator. Mississippi natives Governor Phil Bryant, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and the Sergeant Major of the United States Marine Corps, Ronald Green, will be attending and speaking at the day’s ceremonies. Over 200 family members and friends of the 16 servicemen will be present for the weekend’s activities along with the VMGR-452 squadron and Marine Ruckers. 

Seven of the servicemen belonged to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command’s 2nd Raider Battalion and were traveling from North Carolina to the West Coast for pre-deployment training in Arizona. The other nine were KC-130 aircrew belonging to Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron (VMGR-452), a reserve unit out of Newburgh, New York.

“I don’t believe anybody in Mississippi knew a single serviceman that died on July 10, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the outpouring of support we have received as we were able to raise over $85,000 to build this memorial. This memorial will honor the legacy these Marines and Sailor left behind. Mississippi will never forget what happened the afternoon of July 10,” said YANKY 72 Memorial Committee Chairman, Clifton Addison.

“When our loved ones die, our greatest fear is they will be forgotten. This amazing community in Mississippi has made it their mission, to make sure our heroes are honored and never forgotten,” said Anna Johnson, wife of GySgt Brendan Johnson who died in the plane crash.

In April, Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2458 that renamed a portion of U.S. Highway 82 in Leflore County, YANKY 72 Memorial Highway. The portion will extend from the site of the YANKY 72 Memorial to the Leflore/Sunflower County line. A memorial plaque will be provided by the Department of Mississippi’s Marine Corps League and will be placed at the nearest location of the crash along the highway.

During the dedication ceremony, Commissioner Mike Tagert of the Northern Transportation District will unveil the YANKY 72 Memorial Highway sign that will be displayed on Hwy 82.