Jones has been working for years to ensure DOD exonerates the two pilots, Maj. Brooks Gruber and Lt. Col. John Brow. The report on the crash of the tilt-rotor Osprey lists several factors, including human factors, as a cause of the crash.

The wives of the two men — Connie Gruber and Trish Brow — have pushed the Marines to refute ongoing press accounts that the crash was caused by pilot error.

Jones said he is working with the Marines on a short letter that makes this clarification, and said he hopes that the issue can finally be resolved in the coming weeks. He also said he would prefer that the Marine Corps makes this finding on its own, without him having to seek help from Hagel.

"I hope that the Marine Corps understands that I do not want to do that, because it would bring more peace to Trish and Connie if the Marine Corps likes the letter," Jones said.

Jones broke down in tears at the end of his floor remarks, as he described his hope of visiting the graves of the two men to tell them that the controversy has ended. He wept as he said he would like to tell the men, "Sleep, you're not at fault. Sleep."

"I apologize for getting… I just feel so passionate about this," he said as he left the floor in tears.