A re-chartering member of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity is among those killed in a U.S. Navy helicopter crash in Oman. Naval Aircrewman Second Class Joseph Patrick “JP” Fitzmorris, 31, of West Monroe, Louisiana was aboard a MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopter that went down July 19, 2012 on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
Fitzmorris and another crewman were declared deceased following a search of the wreckage and the surrounding crash site, according to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs office. Three other helicopter crew members survived. The crash, 58 miles southwest of Muscat, Oman, was not due to any sort of hostile activity, the Navy said in a news release.
The crash remains under investigation. The Norfolk, Virgina-based Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15, also known as the “Blackhawks,” was conducting heavy lift support operations at the time.
On July 23, fellow service members and friends held a memorial service in Bahrain for Fitzmorris and his fallen crewmate, Chief Naval Aircrewman Sean P. Sullivan. Commanding officers offered an invocation and remarks about their selfless devotion to duty and unwavering committment to the Navy, according to a Navy news release.
The Public Affairs office reported Fitzmorris joined the Navy in 2004 as an aviation electrician’s mate, and continued his service as a naval aircrewman. Fitzmorris completed tours with Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 8, HT 28, and HM-15.
Fitzmorris, who grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana, was married in February to the former Jacqueline Gulla, also a U.S. Navy sailor. A 1999 graduate of Ruston High School, he later studied Health & Exercise Science at Northwestern State University and Louisiana Tech. In 2000, Fitzmorris was one of 29 members that re-chartered the Beta Omicron Chapter after nearly two decades of dormancy on the NSU campus. On February 12, 2000 he became the chapter’s 303 member, a re-founding father. Beta Omicron Chapter alumni and student members are currently discussing ideas for memorializing his service and sacrifice.
Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, August 3rd at Trinity Methodist Church in Ruston. A private family burial will follow.
Below is a tribute video created by the “Blackhawks” squadron.
Some information from: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=68466 and http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=68555