WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) —
A U.S. Marine lost at sea Wednesday was the first U.S. military death in the fight against the Islamic State.
Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, fell into the water in the North Arabian Gulf when the MV-22B Osprey he was in "lost power and descended to the surface of the ocean shortly after takeoff from USS Makin Island," the Navy said in a release.
The pilots were able to regain control of the Osprey and safely land it back on the ship.
One other air crewman also fell out of the aircraft, but was recovered and was in stable condition on the Makin Island. Search efforts for Spears took place Wednesday and Thursday, but he was not found and was listed as lost at sea.
Spears, of Memphis, Ind., was assigned to the Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 163, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
The Navy said the group’s mission was to support "operations in Iraq and Syria, and throughout the region."
"Some of those operations included operations in Iraq and Syria, at least tangentially," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary said. "So there’s no question that this Marine’s death is related to the operations that are going on in some form or fashion."