CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- The U.S. Marine Corps said Gunnery Sgt. Mark Hopkins, who grew up in Chesapeake, was one of 16 service members who died when a military plane crashed on Monday.
Hopkins received several awards and decorations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Hopkins graduated from Great Bridge High School in 2001. Friends and former classmates are sharing condolences on a Facebook page dedicated to the school's alumni.
Prior to his death, Hopkins lived in New York.
The Hopkins Family released a statement, which was posted on the website of a church they attend:
Mark was part of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452) based out of Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, NY. Mark joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 18 and served as a navigator. "Hoppy," as he was referred to by his Marine brothers, was based in Okinawa, Japan with VMGR-152 from 2004-06.
Mark was born in Ypsilanti, MI, raised in Chesapeake, VA, and graduated from Great Bridge High School in 2001. In 2014 he married Patricia, 32, and have three children, Wyatt (2), Abby (1) and Lewis (4 months). Mark and his family are active congregants at Goodwill Church, an Evangelical Presbyterian church, in Montgomery, NY.
Mark's mother is Deborah Hopkins of Belleville, MI and his siblings include Freese (Buddy) Hopkins of Belleville, MI, Deneen Wiske of Middleton, WI, and Robert Hopkins of Louisville, KY.
Mark was a man of the Bible whose faith in Christ shaped every area of his life. Mark was a genuine, creative, compassionate man who exuded happiness and brightened every room he walked into. He loved God, his family, and reading his Bible. An adventurous, genuine people-person, Mark had many talents and hobbies including playing guitar, running, snowboarding, hiking, and surfing. He was an avid traveler and especially enjoyed spur-of-the-moment road trips — there was never a dull moment with him. He was a deeply spiritual man who shared his faith with others and lived his life to its fullest. He is most known for his unforgettable, radiant smile — he was always happy and had a welcoming presence about him. He had a knack for always bringing out the best in others.
We are deeply grieving our loss and offer our sincere condolences to the 15 other families who also lost their loved one in this tragedy. Above all, we have great hope and comfort knowing that through Mark's deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, he is at rest in the arms of Heaven.
We thank you in advance for your tremendous support and for respecting our privacy during this difficult time. Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.
The Marine Corps released the full list of victims in a social media post.
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