SAN DIEGO – The flag-draped coffins carrying the remains of seven Marines and a sailor who died after a Marine Corps seafaring tank sank off the coast of Southern California have arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for burial preparations.
The Marine Corps said Tuesday that six pallbearers of Marines and sailors escorted each casket aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The body of another Marine was transferred Aug. 5.
Nine troops were killed, including one Marine who died at the scene.
The caskets will be handed over to their families for final arrangements, the Marine Corps said in a press release.
The military is investigating what caused the amphibious assault vehicle to sink off San Clemente Island on July 30 after completing a routine training. The troops were heading back to a Navy ship from the island, which lies about 70 miles west of San Diego.
Seven Marines were rescued.
The troops who died ranged in age from 18 to 22.
The military identified those who died as Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona, California; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California; Pfc. Jack-Ryan Ostrovsky, 20, of Bend, Oregon; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 22, of Harris, Texas; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 18, of Portland, Oregon; Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California, and Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 19, of New Braunfels, Texas.
Gnem was posthumously advanced to the rank of petty officer third class and posthumously awarded his enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist qualification, having met the criteria set by the Navy for both before his death.