Remains of victim are placed into a hearse
The remains of one of the victims are placed into a hearse from the trip to Miramar and the flight to Dover. Courtesy San Diego Police

The remains of seven Marines and a Navy sailor who died two weeks ago when an amphibious assault vehicle sank in the ocean near San Clemente Island were transferred Wednesday from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to Dover Air Force Base, the Marine Corps announced.

Six military pallbearers escorted each of the late servicemen’s caskets aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 bound for the Delaware base for final preparation for burial, after which they will be released to their families for final arrangements.

The amphibious troop-transport vehicle the Camp Pendleton-based personnel were aboard foundered for unknown reasons July 30 during a maritime training mission about 80 miles west of Encinitas and went down in water nearly 400 feet deep. Seven other members of the crew survived.

The military recovered the victims’ bodies from the sea floor Friday.

Transferred Wednesday to Dover AFB were the remains of:

  • Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona
  • Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello
  • Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin
  • Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, a Navy hospital corpsman 3rd class
  • Pfc. Jack-Ryan Ostrovsky, 20, of Bend, Oregon
  • Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 22, of Harris, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 18, of Portland, Oregon
  • Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside

The body of Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 19, of New Braunfels, Texas, who also died when the AAV sank, was transferred from San Diego to the Air Force installation in Delaware last Wednesday.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation, according to the Marine Corps.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.