Two Illinois Marines Killed in Helicopter Crash

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011  |  Updated 11:03 PM CDT
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Honoring Chicagoland's Fallen Heroes

Captain Jeffrey Bland and Lt. Thomas Heitmann were killed in a Marine helicopter crash in San Diego. (Courtesy Fox 5 in San Diego)

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Illinois was home to two marines who died in an attack helicopter crash at Camp Pendleton in California.

A statement issued Tuesday by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing says the crew members were Capt. Jeffrey Bland, a native of Champaign, Ill., and 1st Lt. Thomas Heitmann, a native of Mendota, Ill.

Their AH-1W Cobra helicopter went down Monday afternoon during training in a remote area of Camp Pendleton. The helicopter burned, igniting a brush fire.

Bland was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1997 and Heitmann was commissioned in 2008. They were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Air Station Miramar.

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