Military Identifies Three US Marines Killed In Plane Crash Off Australia

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The U.S. Marine Corps has identified the three Marines who lost their lives when a military aircraft crashed into the sea.

A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey went down off the coast of Australia Saturday after taking off from the USS Bonhomme Richard, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. The aircraft was “conducting regularly scheduled operations” when the accident occurred. Small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group recovered 23 of the 26 crew members, but three were lost.

The Osprey is known in the military as a problematic aircraft that has been involved in numerous accidents.

The three Marines were, according to a Marine Corps press release:

  • 1st Lt. Benjamin R. Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine.
  • Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway, 21, from Sedgwick, Kan.
  • Pfc. Ruben P. Velasco, 19, from Los Angeles, Calif.

Cross and Ordway were assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265. Cross’ service decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Ordway had earned the same, as well as the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Velasco was assigned to Battery G, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and was a recipient of 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. To the families of the brave Marines we lost – there is no way for us to understand what you are going through,” Col. Tye R. Wallace, Commanding Officer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said to the families of the fallen in the related press statement. “What we do know is that your Marines left a lasting impression on the 31st MEU, the Marine Corps, and the world. They will live on forever in our thoughts and our hearts. You will always be a part of the Marine Corps family, and you will remain in our prayers.”

The latest incident follows another tragic accident involving a KC-130 refueling tanker in mid-July that killed 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman.

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