LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – The body of a La Puente Marine who was killed in the crash of an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft off the coast of Australia was returned to Southern California Friday in preparation for funeral services next week.
Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, a graduate of West Covina High School, was one of three Marines killed in the Aug. 5 crash of the MV-22 Osprey. Twenty-three other Marines survived the crash.
Velasco’s body, accompanied by family, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport shortly before 8 p.m. The fallen Marine was then escorted in a procession by members of the West Covina Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol.
The procession traveled east on the 105 Freeway and north on the 605 Freeway, ending at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, located at 3888 Workman Mill Rd. in Whittier.
A visitation will be held there at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with funeral services set for 11 a.m. Thursday.
According to Velasco’s mother, Gemily Calzada, the services are open to “friends, family and anyone who would like to honor Ruben.”
Calzada has been raising money for funeral expenses through the GoFundMe website. She wrote on the page that while the military provides funds to cover funeral costs, the money all went to Velasco’s father, leaving her side of the family unable to fully fund extended costs such as travel expenses for relatives.
The other two Marines who died in the crash were identified as Cpl. Nathan Ordway of Kansas and 1st Lt. Benjamin Robert Cross of Maine.
An Australian Navy ship helped locate the wreckage of the MV-22 Osprey Aug. 7 off the coast of Queensland state.
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