Marine Killed During Training Accident ID'd

The Marines have identified the man who died after his amphibious assault vehicle sank during a training exercise.

An Iraq war veteran, Sgt. Wesley J. Rice, 27, of San Antonio, TX,  died on Friday when his AAV sank to the bottom of the Del Mar boat basin at Camp Pendleton, officials said.

He was among six marines who were abroad the vehicle during the exercise. The other five marines were able to make it safely out of the vehicle.

Search and rescue crews worked to pump oxygen into the AAV for Rice who was trapped inside for several hours, according to a spokesperson with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Divers freed him from the vehicle shortly after 2:00 p.m. He was flown to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla where he was pronounced dead.

"To the family, our condolences go to them, on behalf of the Assault Amphibian Battalion and obviously all the Marines here at Camp Pendleton,” said Maj. Daniel J. Thomas.

The training vehicle was part of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle Schools Battalion. The Marines use the vehicle to transport troops from ship to shore.

“Roughly about a 32 to 36 ton vehicle that is made to travel on land and under the water,” said Maj. Thomas. “For them this is their initial driver training in the water at the basin controlled environment before they go into the open ocean.”

The Marines plan to look into what caused the vehicle to sink.

“There will be a thorough investigation into this mishap that occurred and based off that, we will have… reports that come, lessons learned in terms of preventing anything like this from happening,” said Maj. Thomas.

During his service, Rice was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

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