Three Marines killed when their MV-22B Osprey crashed Saturday off Queensland, Australia, have been identified.
1st Lt. Benjamin R. Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine, was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, according to III Marine Expeditionary Force. Cross’ decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas, was also with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, III MEF announced in a news release. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Pfc. Ruben P. Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles, was assigned to Battery G, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, the news release said. 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, commander of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in the news release. “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.”
Cross attended the Virginia Military Institute on a full scholarship and graduated in 2013, according to a story by two Maine newspapers: The Portland Press Herald and the Morning Sentinel.
“He was proud of being a Marine and of the aircraft he flew,” his brother Ryan told the newspapers.
On Saturday, when the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit posted on its Facebook page that the family of the three missing Marines had been notified Ordway’s sister Taylor posted a comment: “Please pray for my brother and the other two Marines.”
Velasco’s family had started an online fundraiser to help pay for his funeral, but as of Monday night it was no longer accepting donations. All service members who die while on active-duty status are entitled to be reimbursed up to $10,500 for funeral and interment expenses, said Maj. Garron Garn, a spokesman for Manpower & Reserve Affairs.
“We are all in disbelief and cannot fathom the loss of our son,” according to the GoFundMe account for Valesco’s family. “The grief my wife has to [bear] is immeasurable. Richard Velasco, Ruben’s father, is equally devastated. My heart is broken for our family’s loss. We celebrated his 19th Birthday only a few days ago which makes his passing even harder.”