European Command said that out of respect for the families of the service members and in line with Department of Defense policy, the identities of the crew members are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin notifications are completed.
It wasn’t immediately clear what military service the aircraft belonged to. The Air Force has sent additional squadrons to the region and the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, which has an array of aircraft on board, has also been operating in the eastern Mediterranean.
President Joe Biden issued the following statement Sunday: “Today, Jill and I mourn the loss of 5 American service members who died when their aircraft crashed in the Mediterranean Sea during a routine training mission. Our service members put their lives on the line for our country every day. They willingly take risks to keep the American people safe and secure. And their daily bravery and selflessness is an enduring testament to what is best in our nation. Jill and I are praying for the families and friends who have lost a precious loved one — a piece of their soul. Our entire nation shares their grief.”