Military identifies sailor, Marines presumed dead in training accident off California coast
The military identified early Monday morning the Marine who was killed in a training accident last week, as well as the sailor and seven other Marines who are presumed dead.
Fifteen Marines and the sailor were participating in training off San Clemente Island Thursday evening when their vehicle began taking on water, according to the Marine Corps.
Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, a 20-year-old rifleman from New Braunfels, Tex., was pronounced dead at the scene before being transported by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego.
The search for the missing eight men was called off Sunday and they are now presumed dead.
The military identified them as:
- Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California
- Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California
- Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a rifleman
- US Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California
- 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
A Marine rifleman was also injured in the accident.
“Our thoughts and prayers have been, and will continue to be with our Marines’ and Sailor’s families during this difficult time,” Col. Christopher Bronzi said in a statement Sunday. “As we turn to recovery operations we will continue our exhaustive search for our missing Marines and sailor.”
Gen. David Berger, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, immediately suspended all amphibious assault vehicle water operations “until the causal factors of this mishap are better understood.”