The Marine Corps has recovered the remains of the three Marines who died in an MV-22 Osprey crash off the coast of Australia earlier this month, the service announced this morning, and is in the process of returning their remains to their families.
An Osprey carrying 26 Marines crashed in the Coral Sea on Aug. 5 during an Amphibious Integration Training event. Small boats and aircraft from the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit immediately began a search and rescue effort, saving 23 of the 26 Marines. Capt. Benjamin Cross, Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway and Lance Cpl. Ruben Velasco were declared lost at sea and presumed dead when the search was called off the next day. Cross and Velasco were posthumously promoted to their current rank.
The Marine Corps announced today that Ordway and Velasco’s remains had already been transferred to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and that Cross’s remains were recently recovered and would be sent to Hawaii as well. From there, the bodies will be prepared to be returned to the Marines’ families in a dignified transfer of remains.
The Royal Australian Navy’s hydrographic survey ship HMAS Melville (HS 02/A 246) and a clearance diving team first detected the location of the crashed Osprey on Aug. 6 and began initial recovery efforts. USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52) and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 eventually took over the salvage operation, according to a Marine Corps news release.