A member of the U.S. Marine Corps who was inspired to become a fighter pilot by the classic film Top Gun died this week when his F-18 Hornet crashed outside an American airbase in England, according to family members.
California native Maj. Taj Sareen, 34, was piloting one of six jets en route back home to the U.S. from the Persian Gulf when his jet went down near Royal Air Force Lakenheath on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reports.
Maj. Sareen was found ejected from the cockpit and no other casualities were reported. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Kulbhushan Sareen, father of the San Diego-based pilot, told NBC San Diego it was after watching Tom Cruise's steel-nerved Maverick character when the fallen Marine first spoke of piloting a military jet.
"He had enough discipline to achieve it. He went for it," Sareen said.
Sareen joined the Marine Corps in 2005. He served in Afghanistan in 2010 and was a member of the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, stationed in San Diego.
Sareen was at the end of a six-month deployment at the time of his death, his third deployment as a Marine.