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1 Dead, 8 Missing in Marine Training Accident

A Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle accident off the coast of Southern California that killed one Marine on Thursday led to an “extensive 40-hour” ocean search for seven missing Marines and one sailor.

That weekend search and rescue operation was called off late Saturday night Pacific time, and the missing service members were presumed dead as the operation shifted into a recovery mission, according to the Marine Corps.

About 24-hours after notifying the troops’ next-of-kin, the Corps released the names of the Marine killed and those troops presumed dead.

Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, of New Braunfels, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit press release on Sunday. His body was then taken by helicopter to San Diego’s Scripps Memorial Hospital.

The 20-year-old was a rifleman with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th MEU ― the same company as the rest of the troops.

Presumed dead are:

  • Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California, a rifleman.

  • Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California, a rifleman.

  • Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a rifleman.

  • U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California, a hospital corpsman.

  • Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon, a rifleman.

  • Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas, a rifleman.

  • Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon, a rifleman.

  • Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California, a rifleman.

Two other Marines were transported from the scene by helicopter to the Scripps Memorial Hospital and were in critical condition, according to the press release. One was a Marine rifleman, who was still in critical condition as of Sunday night.

The second Marine ― an AAV crew member ― was in critical condition but “since has been upgraded to stable condition.”

Sixteen service members were aboard the AAV Thursday when it reported taking on water near San Clemente Island off the Southern California coast.

Five Marines were rescued and brought aboard the amphibious transport dock Somerset, according to the Sunday press release.

The incident is under investigation, according to the MEU.

Author: Andrea Scott


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