Father of Valley Marine who went missing off Japanese coast speaks

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The father of a Marine who was killed after a mid-air collision off the Japanese coast is speaking out.

Maximo Alexander Flores from Litchfield Park always wanted to be a marine. He always wanted to be his dad, and he enlisted a decade ago.

"Right away when they told me, I knew what it was," said Maximo Flores, Sr. "I mean it's just the greatest fear."

It's a feeling of anxiety that any military family has when they come to their door, and they know it's terrible news.

Maximo's father also served in the marines, and was proud when his son joined the Marine Corps as well.

"I remember graduation day," said Flores. "He pulled me to him and I thought we were going to hug and he said, 'now I know why you were so biased towards the Marine Corps.'"

Maximo, 27, was destined for service.

"He loved it," said Flores. "He took me aboard. We toured his aircraft when he was stationed at Miramar, California."

Tragedy struck the family last week, when Maximo was involved in a mid-air plane collision. The family became anxious, as they waited for days for good news. On Monday night (Arizona time), Maximo was officially declared dead, and the search for him and other missing crew members has been called off.

"Seems like something that happens in the movies," said Flores. "It's not real."

Maximo leaves behind a wife, Rebecca, who's still across the Pacific. Flores credits her for being a strong woman who will no doubt be tested in the days and weeks ahead.

Funeral arrangements have not been made