The bodies of LeBeau, Collart and Lewis were flown to Darwin earlier this week and will now make the journey back home to the US.
A candlelight vigil was held at sunset in Darwin earlier this week and leaders from Australia and the US, including President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have offered their condolences.
Speaking from her home in Illinois, Victoria LeBeau said she had no insight into what might have caused the tragedy, which is the latest in a long line of crashes around the world involving an Osprey aircraft.
But as the investigation continues, she praised her daughter as a hero, who would have done everything she could to ensure the safety of the people on board.
“She lit up a room,” Victoria said. “We’ve got hundreds of pictures and there’s not one where she isn’t smiling. The path that she chose was the path she was meant to be – and we believe in our heart that she saved those people.”
Eleanor LeBeau was part of a “military family” – six out of eight LeBeau children served in the military, as did Eleanor’s father and her husband, Chase, who is also an Osprey pilot.
She joined the marines in 2018, and has received the National Defence Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. The 29-year-old was promoted to captain in March, and arrived in Australia with her husband one month later.
“She loved the Gold Coast and went diving in the Great Barrier Reef – they were here highlights,” Victoria said.
“She didn’t like your food much – I apologise for that – but she loved the people and the thing that struck her most was how much Australians loved our military.
“That was what she took away – and we’re just so grateful for all the support.”
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