BRICK – An Army solider who was a resident of the township died during a training exercise involving a helicopter on August 27.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Vincent P. Marketta, 33, died from injuries he sustained during an aircraft mishap he experienced during aviation training on San Clemente Island California. The island, located off Carlsbad, falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy. It is home to an urban warfare training facility and an airstrip.
Marketta was assigned to the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment which is also referred to as the “Night Stalkers.” The 160th SOAR is often responsible for inserting special operators into combat under difficult conditions including the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011.
He was one of two soldiers who perished during the incident when their UH-60 Black Hawk crashed off the island. Their regiment conducts training for infiltration and exfiltration operations on the island. Sgt. Tyler M. Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, California also died in the crash.
Marketta enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2011 as a 15T UH-60 Black Hawk repairer and was assigned to the regiment following his completion of Advanced Individual Training. He completed an extensive training and assessment program the following year.
In 2014, after spending 18 months as an aircraft repairer in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR he remained with the 1st Battalion, 160th AOAR for service as an MH-60M Crew Chief. He was deployed to Afghanistan to support of Operation Enduring Freedom and deployed multiple times to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Marketta graduated from the Enlisted Combat Skills; Combatives Level 1; MH-60 Maintainers Course; Survival. Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; MH-60 Non-Rated Crew Member Courses; in addition to the MH-60 Flight Instructors Course.
His awards and decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with V device; Air Medal with C device; (20LC0; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal (1OLC); Army Good Conduct Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Combat Action Badge; and the Basic Aviator’s Badge.
Colonel Andrew R. Graham, the commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Airborne said the loss of the tow men has “left a scar in this regiment that will never completely heal. Their level of dedication to the 160th SOAR and their exemplary service in the Army is the embodiment of what it means to be a Night Stalker and a soldier.”
Graham added that “our priority now is to ensure the families of our fallen warriors receive our complete support as we work through this tragedy together. We ask that you keep Staff Sergeant Marketta, Sergeant Shelton, their families and fellow Night Stalkers in your thoughts and prayers.”
According to the US Navy, Marketta and Shelton will both receive the meritorious service medal posthumously