Remains of missing Marines, sailor successfully recovered

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U.S. Marines with All-Domain Reconnaissance Detachment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit move a combat rubber raiding craft down the well deck ramp of the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) to conduct search and rescue operations following an AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle mishap off the coast of Southern California, July 30, 2020. Assisting in the search and rescue operations are the guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113), multiple U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopters and multiple small boats from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), and USS Somerset, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forrest Rednour and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector San Diego. (Marine Corps photograph by Staff Sgt. Kassie McDole)
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The remains of seven Marines and a Sailor were successfully recovered Aug. 7, 2020, after underwater salvage operations following the July 30 mishap involving an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of San Clemente Island.

The recovered Marines and Sailor will soon be transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for preparation by mortuary affairs teams for burial.

Marine and Navy pallbearers will place the remains aboard an aircraft bound for Dover AFB in a solemn transfer. From Dover AFB, their remains will then be released to their families in accordance with their wishes.

The transfer of remains will not be open to the public, and we ask that the privacy of the families be respected as they make final arrangements for their loved ones.

A U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopter conducts aerial search and rescue while Sailors operate a rigid-hull inflatable boat during search and rescue operations following an AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle mishap off the coast of Southern California, July 30, 2020. Assisting in the search and rescue operations are the guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113), multiple U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopters and multiple small boats from USS Makin Island, the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), and the amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25), as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forrest Rednour and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector San Diego. (Marine Corps photograph by Staff Sgt. Kassie McDole)

“Our hearts and thoughts of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are with the families of our recovered Marines and Sailor,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We hope the successful recovery of our fallen warriors brings some measure of comfort.”

The U.S. Navy has led the underwater search and salvage efforts. Specialized equipment on a diving and salvage ship to recover the remains and AAV arrived Aug. 6 to relieve the crew of HOS Dominator, who stayed in position after locating the site.

Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 19, of New Braunfels, Texas, also died in the AAV mishap and was pronounced dead at the scene July 30. His remains were transferred Aug. 5 to Dover AFB.

The sunken AAV has been successfully recovered. The cause of the July 30 incident is under investigation.
 
 
 

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