The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has identified the three Marines still missing and declared dead after Saturday’s MV-22 Osprey crash off the coast of Australia.
The deceased were identified as Marine 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine; Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas; and Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles. Two Marines were Osprey aircrewmen from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265), and the third was a passenger on the aircraft.
Honor the Fallen
Marines lost in MV-22 mishap:
1st Lt. Benjamin Cross
Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway
Pfc. Ruben Velasco
Semper Fidelis, Marines. pic.twitter.com/42Z3zE2SX1
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) August 8, 2017
1st Lt. Benjamin Cross was assigned to VMM-265 and previously earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, was also in VMM-265 and previously earned the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Pfc. Ruben Velasco was assigned to Battery G, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (BLT 3/5). His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
“The loss of every Marine is felt across our entire Marine Corps family,” Col. Tye Wallace, Commanding Officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in the statement. “To the families of the brave Marines we lost — there is no way for us to understand what you are going through.”
“What we do know is that your Marines left a lasting impression on the 31st MEU, the Marine Corps, and the world. They will live on forever in our thoughts and our hearts. You will always be a part of the Marine Corps family, and you will remain in our prayers.”
The Osprey crashed Saturday after taking off from amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and while on final approach to amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20).
Twenty-three of the 26 aircrewmen and passengers were rescued by small boats and helicopters, but Cross, Ordway and Velasco were not recovered from the water.
On Sunday morning the Marine Corps declared the ongoing effort a recovery rather than rescue mission.
An Australian Navy dive team began operations today to salvage the Osprey from the water, approximately 18 miles off the coast of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia, according to the news release.