OAK CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, August 25, in honor of a fallen Wisconsin Marine.
In early August, officials confirmed that 19-year-old Private First Class Evan Bath of Oak Creek was among a group of Marines presumed dead after an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) sank down in hundreds of feet of water off the Southern California coast on July 30.
A total of 16 troops — 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman — were on board when the amphibious assault vehicle started taking in water as it was about a half-mile from the shores of San Clemente Island. They had just completed a routine training exercise and were heading back to the Navy ship with a dozen other amphibious assault vehicles, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, the commanding general of the Marine Expeditionary Force.
Troops on board two other amphibious assault vehicles responded quickly but could not stop the 26-ton vehicle from sinking, Osterman said. The tank-like craft sank in hundreds of feet of water — too deep for divers — making it difficult to reach.
One of eight Marines rescued from the water later died. Five Marines were rescued and brought aboard USS Somerset.
“Pfc. Bath was motivated to serve his country, finding his passion and desire to serve from a young age and working diligently to do so,” said Gov. Evers. “Pfc. Bath was a cherished son, brother, grandson, and member of his church community and had a deep love for his friends, family, and country. On behalf of the state of Wisconsin, we join his loved ones and community in mourning this profound loss and honor his memory, his ambition, his bravery, and his service.”
Pfc. Bath’s interest in military service began from a young age and in his senior year of high school, he transferred to online learning in order to prepare to enlist immediately following graduation. He earned the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal while serving.
Pfc. Bath will be laid to rest on Tues., Aug. 25, 2020 in Union Grove, Wisconsin.
In early August, authorities recovered the bodies of Pfc. Bath and the eight other Marines killed in the incident. The flag-draped coffins carrying the remains were transported to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for burial preparations.