The Hendersonville family of a soldier killed in a training accident wants more accountability for those responsible for his death.
"The loss is immeasurable.Carter's our first.... our only son," Todd Ross, the father of 21-year-old Marine Corporal William "Carter" Ross, said.
“You expect it if they, ya know, go off to war but not a training accident like this.. It’s just.. It’s hard," Michelle Ross, Carter's mother, said.
In the early morning hours of December 6th, 2019, reports of a mid-air collision involving a KC-130 air tanker and an F/A-18 fighter jet began to spread. Marine Corps officers arrived at the Ross family home with the news. Their son was one of the 5 missing Marines from the air tanker.
"She's like, 'My god, they're here. They're here,'" remembered Todd Ross.
Carter, along with 4 other Marines from Squadron 152, identified as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, Maj. James M. Brophy, Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores and Cpl. Daniel E. Baker were declared dead five days after the accident. The Ross' family says they were shocked when they recently received the official report detailing the investigation into the deadly refueling mid-air collision.
The 1,600 page report highlighted multiple issues, including an inexperienced and unqualified F/A-18 pilot, inadequate supervision of training, and disregard for flight operations orders. It also reported multiple flight members tested positive for unauthorized medication, namely the sleep aid Ambien.
“This was command failure to do what set out by the Marine Corps as protocol, was not done, plain and simple," Todd Ross said.
Four Marine officers were fired following the investigation. Carter's father doesn't believe that's enough.
“There’s no amount of money that’s going to bring any of these people back. None. So what do we want? Want the change and want somebody to be accountable for this to the extent of and going to prison."
Accountability they hope will honor their son's memory, the same way they do every day.
“I wear his watch, I wear his boots, ya know, whatever I can.. It keeps me close," Todd Ross said.