Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins (left) and Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden (right).
Two of the 16 U.S. service members killed when a U.S. military plane crashed in Mississippi in July were members of Goodwill Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, N.Y. Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins, 34, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Snowden, 31, were serving in the U.S. Marine Corps when the KC-130 refueling tanker crashed July 10 near Itta Bena, Miss., about 85 miles north of Jackson.
John Torres, Pastor of Goodwill EPC, said the two Marines were well-respected members of the congregation.
“Josh was faithful in his attendance, and Mark was also very active in the church,” he said, noting that Hopkins was “very well known in his unit as a strong Christian. Mark fostered a sense of community wherever he went, and my prayer is that as a church we will honor him by modeling that as we minister to his family.”
He said Snowden, a Texas native, “always had a bit of home in him, whether it was his hat or his truck. Words can’t express how much these men will be missed—not only by their families of course, but by our church.”
Torres said Brian Hill, EPC Chaplain and Pastor of the nearby Circleville (N.Y.) Evangelical Presbyterian Church, also has been ministering to the community following the accident.
“I am so thankful for Brian, who has been helping the families and community here,” Torres said. “I think this tragedy has reminded us that our soldiers don’t have to be deployed to be in harm’s way, so I pray that all of our military chaplains would be in the best possible position to minister on their respective bases.”
Snowden is survived by his parents, one sister, and four brothers. Click here for a full obituary notice.
Hopkins is survived by his wife, Patricia, and three children: Wyatt, 2, Abby, 1, and Lewis, 5 months. Click here for a full obituary notice.
The aircraft was part of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y. The squadron is a reserve unit of the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of the accident, the flight from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina was transporting personnel and equipment to Naval Air Field El Centro, Calif.