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Coffins of troops killed in accident off San Clemente arrive in Delaware

U.S. Marines and sailors carry a casket in Miramar, Calif.
U.S. Marines and sailors carry a casket inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Wednesday.
(Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin / U.S. Marine Corps)

The flag-draped coffins carrying the remains of seven young Marines and a sailor who died in a training accident after their seafaring tank sank off the coast of San Clemente have arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for burial preparations.

The Marine Corps said earlier this week that six pallbearers of Marines and sailors escorted each casket aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The body of another Marine was transferred Aug. 5.

Nine troops were killed, including one Marine who died at the scene.

The caskets will be handed over to their families for final arrangements, the Marine Corps said in a press release.

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The military is investigating what caused the amphibious assault vehicle to sink July 30 after completing a routine training exercise. The troops were heading back to a Navy ship from San Clemente Island.

Seven Marines were rescued.

The troops who died ranged in age from 18 to 22. Three were from Southern California.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, was posthumously advanced to the rank of petty officer third class and posthumously awarded his enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist qualification, having met the criteria set by the Navy for both before his death.


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