Orange Park sailor dies after being struck by helicopter blade

Lt. James E. Mazzuchelli, 32, joined Navy in 2010

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A Navy flight surgeon from Orange Park died Saturday from injuries sustained during a helicopter accident in Camp Pendleton, California, according to a report by USNI News. 

Lt. James E. Mazzuchelli, 32, died after he was struck by the tail rotor of a helicopter early Wednesday, according to the report. 

“Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and sailor,” Col. Matthew Mowery, commanding officer of MAG-39 said in a statement obtained by USNI News. “His contagious enthusiasm, motivation, and love for the Marines and Sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG-39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends. His willingness to join the Navy and elect to serve faithfully with the Marines should give a sense of pride to all of us who serve our country that we are surrounded by heroes every day. James and his contribution to our Corps will be sorely missed.”

Following the incident, Mazzuchelli was taken to Scripps LaJolla Medical Facility in critical condition. He passed away just before 6 a.m. Saturday. 

Mazzuchelli joined the Navy in 2010.

Gov. Rick Scott's office said he would be ordering flags be lowered to in honor of Mazzuchelli's service.

"As a flight surgeon, Lt. Mazzuchelli courageously served our country alongside his fellow Navy sailors and our U.S. Marine Corps, and his legacy will long be honored and remembered by his loved ones and by the State of Florida," Scott said in a statement. "Our service men and women, both at home and across the globe, face danger every day in order to protect our freedom. As a Navy veteran myself, I urge all Floridians to take this opportunity to thank the military members in their communities as we continue to pray for Lt. Mazzuchelli’s family during this difficult time.” 

The incident is under investigation. 

Click here to read the full article on USNI News.