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"The most caring individual I've ever met": Brother of missing Marine speaks out

Marines missing after crash

One of the three Marines who went missing after their aircraft crashed off the coast of Australia was a 26-year-old Maine native, CBS News confirms.

Lt. Benjamin Robert Cross was identified by his older brother, Ryan Cross, on Sunday in an interview with CBS News Radio's Matt Pieper.

"My brother, all through high school, knew he wanted to be a pilot in the military. It had been his dream," Ryan Cross told Pieper, adding that his brother attended the Virginia Military Institute on a full Naval ROTC scholarship. 

"He's always been interested in all things aerial, aeronautical -- loved roller coasters and all things math or science so it was kind of a natural fit for him," he said.

The Marine base Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement Saturday that 23 of 26 service members onboard the aircraft were rescued. They later announced that the search for the missing soldiers was shifted to recovery efforts.

President Trump was briefed on the incident by his chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, on Saturday morning, a White House official told CBS News. Mr. Trump is currently at his private club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for his 17-day vacation.

The Marine Corps suspended a search for three service members Sunday who disappeared after an aircraft crashed into the sea off the coast of Australia. CBS News

Ryan Cross said the news was one of the biggest fears a military family has to face.

"It's something that you hope that you never have to experience. Every military family knows in the back of their mind there's always a possibility. You hope it will never happen to you," he admitted.

But he said his community has rallied around his family since Saturday's incident. "Luckily, we have a great support network of family and friends. The community has been amazing just the outpouring of support we received from everyone. Everyone immediately asked what can they do to help," he said.

And the way Ryan Cross describes his younger brother, the 26-year-old would've done the same.

"It probably sounds cliché, but you know, words really can't describe my little brother. He was just, you know, he's the type of friend everybody wishes they had and the type of person everybody wishes they knew," he said.

"The highest moral character -- just the most caring, compassionate, empathetic individual I've ever met. He would do anything for anybody that needed it, so selfless," he added. "Devoted to his family and devoted to his duty in the Marine Corps."

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