Three missing United States Marines were officially declared dead and their identities were released on Monday, two days after their aircraft crashed into the water off eastern Australia.

They were named as Lt. Benjamin R. Cross, 26, of Oxford, Me.; Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kan.; and Pfc. Ruben P. Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles.

“The loss of every Marine is felt across our entire Marine Corps family,” said Col. Tye R. Wallace, the commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Okinawa, Japan, to which the aircraft was assigned. “To the families of the brave Marines we lost — there is no way for us to understand what you are going through.”

Officials suspended the search for the missing Marines early Sunday morning, about 11 hours after their hybrid aircraft, an MV-22 Osprey, entered the water about 18 miles from the coast of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland. The 23 other members of the military who were aboard the aircraft were rescued.

After the search was suspended, the servicemen’s family members were notified of their deaths. The Marine Corps said that the circumstances of the crash, which it had termed a mishap, were under investigation.

Read the whole story from The New York Times.

Featured image courtesy of DoD

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