Flag-draped coffins of troops from sunken tank sent to Dover

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U.S. Marines and Sailors carry a casket inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Aug. 12, 2020. Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullins)
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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.

U.S. Marines and Sailors with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, carry a casket inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Aug. 12, 2020. The remains of seven Marines and a Sailor recovered Aug. 7 off the coast of San Clemente Island following a July 30 assault amphibious vehicle mishap were transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for final preparation for burial before being released to their families. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin)

The Marine Corps said Aug. 11 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.

U.S. Marines and sailors salute before removing a casket to be placed aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in Calif., Aug. 12, 2020. The remains of seven Marines and a sailor, who died after a seafaring tank sank off the coast of Southern California last month, were transferred to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for burial preparations. (Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullins)

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, Calif.; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, Calif.; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisc.; Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, Calif.; Pfc. Jack-Ryan Ostrovsky, 20, of Bend, Ore.; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 22, of Harris, Texas; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 18, of Portland, Ore.; Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, Calif., 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. AP

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