Marine Corps AAV Water Operations Suspension Still Ongoing

August 10, 2020 4:53 PM - Updated: August 13, 2020 10:34 AM
Marine Corps AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle driver with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, drives an AAV-P7/A1 up the well deck ramp of the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) during training to increase Navy-Marine Corps interoperability in the eastern Pacific on July 27, 2020. US Navy Photo

The following post has been updated to correct the personnel recovered from the AAV.

After salvaging the Amphibious Assault Vehicle that sank last month in the waters near southern California, the Marine Corps is maintaining a halt to AAV water operations as the service continues an investigation into the mishap.

A spokeswoman for the Marine Corps told USNI News today that the pause to water operations remains in effect.

“This suspension does not apply to land-based training or regular maintenance of the vehicles,” Capt. Monica Witt said in a statement last week. “There is no specific timeline associated with the suspension as the investigation into the mishap is ongoing.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger announced the suspension during a July 31 press conference at Camp Pendleton, Calif. one day after the AAV sank during training drills in the waters near San Clemente Island.

While a flag officer may issue an exception to the water operations suspension, Witt said on Monday that officials have yet to grant any waivers.

“The suspension and fleet-wide AAV inspections are part of our commitment to understanding how this incident occurred and to preventing similar tragedies in the future,” Witt said.

The service last week announced it found the AAV and the bodies of the seven Marines and one sailor who died when the vehicle sank on July 30. According to I Marine Expeditionary Force, water began pouring into the AAV when it was heading to amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD-25).

While the service rescued eight Marines from the water, one died from injuries sustained during the accident. Two Marines saved from the water were brought to a nearby hospital.

After search and rescue initiatives spearheaded by the Navy, the Marine Corps said on Aug. 2 that the remaining seven Marines and one sailor were believed to be dead and recovery measures were underway.

The Marines and sailor were part of Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“We are committed to understanding how this incident occurred so that we can prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Witt said. “We have enacted the pause out of an abundance of precaution while we determine what caused the mishap and inspect our AAV fleet to identify any trends or safety concerns.”

Submarine search and rescue ship HOS Dominator aided in the AAV’s recovery, while San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks USS San Diego (LPD-22) and USS Somerset (LPD-25), Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113), and Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) helped with the search and rescue initiatives.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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