OPINION | Views expressed in this article reflect the author's opinion.
via Fox News

Five Marines, including Captain Benjamin Moulton, died in a helicopter crash during a training mission in a rare winter storm.

Benjamin’s uncle criticized the decision to fly in hazardous conditions, emphasizing the danger of the storm and lack of defrosters on the helicopters.

“That’s something that I personally cannot understand. Having worked with the military for most of my career, I know the military does hazardous missions all the time, and they train all the time, but this was a highly volatile storm,” Bradford Moulton said.

He described Benjamin as an exceptional individual and expressed deep sorrow over the loss.

“They had hurricane-force winds. These helicopters, they were flying, they don’t have defrosters on the windshields. If their rotors ice up, they’re going down. They were flying at an altitude of 5,400 feet, which is right where the snow and the rain mixes.”

“They shouldn’t have been off the ground. It was a training mission. They could have waited four or five hours till the storm passed and then go, but some operations officer made the call, and they left,” he said. “It’s a terrible tragedy for all of these families.”

The crash is under investigation, and families are seeking answers from the Defense Department.

“Ben was an awesome kid. He was a super smart kid. Probably one of the smartest kids to ever come out of the school district,” Bradford said regarding his nephew. “Got a full-ride scholarship, ROTC scholarship to the University of Washington. Graduated in three years with a political science degree, went to officer candidate school, was second in his class in OCS, and was the company commander.”

“He… won [a] marksmanship award in basic training. He was the best shot in his entire unit,” he said. “He was a captain of the University of Washington boxing team. He liked to hunt and fish and build cars, and he was a blacksmith and a knife maker. And he was just a good, good kid, and it’s just a tragedy that he’s gone over a stupid mistake.”

“You couldn’t get a better kid, just had a super moral compass, and he was going to be a Marine if it killed him. Well, he made it to Marine, and they killed him,” Bradford said. “That’s all we can say.”

Another relative urged the military to reassess its treatment of service members.

“Maybe this is the one instance to where they wake the f— up and they say, ‘What are we doing to our service members? We’ve got to stop this,'” Steven Langen said.

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