Three marines who were killed when their MV-22B Osprey went into the water off the coast of Australia on Saturday, Aug. 5, have now been identified.
First Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine, was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265. His decorations include the National Defense Service medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal.
Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265. His decorations include the National Defense Service medal, Sea Service Deployment ribbon, and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal.
Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles was assigned to Battery G, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. His decorations include the National Defense Service medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal.
“The loss of every Marine is felt across our entire Marine Corps family,” said Col. Tye R. Wallace, Commanding Officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in a statement. To the families of the brave Marines we lost—there is no way for us to understand what you are going through.”
The aircraft was in Australia for the biennial Talisman Sabre joint U.S. and Australian military exercise that ended July 25.
The aircraft had taken off from the USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship and was on regular operations when it hit the water, according to the Marines Corps.
It was at about 4 p.m. on a clear day when the aircraft entered the water about 18 miles off the coast of northeast Australia in Shoalwater Bay, according to the media release.
Twenty three of the 26 on board were saved, and rescuers searched for the remaining three until Aug. 6 at around 3:00 p.m. local time when the U.S. Marines and Navy suspended the search, saying it could take “several months” to complete. At that point the search and rescue operation became a recovery and salvage operation, and the families of the three missing were notified.
The circumstances of the aircraft’s failure are under investigation, the III Marine Expeditionary Force said.