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Fredericksburg family holds vigil for Marine son missing after aircraft collision

Kevin Herrmann (ABC7)

The family of one of the U.S. Marines still missing after two aircraft collided midair off the coast of southern Japan, spoke about their son at a candlelight vigil Saturday night in Fredericksburg.

Five Marines are still missing, including Lt. Col. (select) Kevin Herrmann. Two other Marines were found; one in fair condition, the other had died.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense is still calling the operation a rescue mission but family and friends are already grieving. They are holding out some hope but believe the 38-year-old is gone.

“We certainly know what it is now to lose a child, no matter what the age is. Father of our granddaughters, three of them, and leaves his wife,” said retired Marine Col. Kevin Herrmann as he looked at the crowd gathering for a candlelight vigil.

Herrmann never expected to see fellow Marines at his own front door in Stafford, Virginia, telling him his son was missing.

“Monday, he was going to be here for a week with us,” he said.

Herrmann’s son, also named Kevin Herrmann, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Marine Corps.

“Fifty-seven years tied in the Marine Corps between my time and my son’s. I think we, we gave all,” his father said.

The Lieutenant Colonel (select) is the current executive officer for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transportation Squadron 152 in Japan. He is one of the five missing.

“Kevin was an awesome, awesome friend. He was an awesome guy. He was one hell of a Marine,” said a friend at the vigil.

Hundreds gathered in the subfreezing temperatures in Fredericksburg to support the family.

“This isn’t about my son. This is about the five Marines that are missing,” the father said with tears in his eyes.

Kevin’s mother Mary Herrmann said she spoke to her son often, including the day of the crash.

“How good is God that He urged him to call me right before boarding his flight?” she said.

The family said their faith is their strength during this unimaginable time.

“We’ve shed enough tears to fill all the oceans,” Kevin Herrmann’s father said.

Herrmann has orders to come back to the United States this summer. His wife and three daughters, ages 12, 10 and 7, are still in Japan.

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