Military

1 Marine Dead, 8 Service Members Missing After Assault Amphibious Vehicle Mishap in Southern California

July 31, 2020Nolan Peterson
An amphibious assault vehicle departs from the well deck of Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Rushmore. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea Troy Milburn/Released.

An amphibious assault vehicle departs from the well deck of Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Rushmore. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea Troy Milburn/Released.

One US Marine is dead and eight service members remain missing after an assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) accident off the coast of Southern California on Thursday.


Some 15 Marines and one sailor were aboard the vehicle when it began taking on water at 5:45 p.m. local time on Thursday, officials said. Two Marines are reported injured and in the hospital, with one in critical condition and the other listed as stable, the Pentagon said Friday.




All 16 personnel involved in the mishap were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.


“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. I ask that you keep our Marines, Sailors, and their families in your prayers as we continue our search,” said Col. Christopher Bronzi, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s commanding officer.


Amphibious Assault Vehicles drive down Onslow Beach, North Carolina, Oct. 3, 2018. AAVs are capable of projecting the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s strength and capability from ship to shore in any littoral or deep water environment. US Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Robert Durham.

The mishap reportedly took place during a training exercise in the vicinity of San Clemente island. A widespread search and rescue effort is reportedly underway for the missing service members, comprising Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, as well as the USS John Finn destroyer, a Coast Guard cutter, and other small boats from nearby Navy ships.


The AAV is the Marine Corps’ workhorse amphibious landing vehicle, designed to transport Marine surface assault elements onto shorelines and support them onward to inland objectives. Known among Marines as an “amtrac,” the AAV is a tracked vehicle that operates both as a boat and a ground vehicle. Unlike landing vessels used in World War II, the AAV transports landing Marines through the deadly surf zone and allows them to disembark farther inland.


As per military policy, the name of the deceased Marine will be withheld until next of kin notification.



Nolan Peterson
Nolan Peterson
Nolan Peterson is a senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine and the author of Why Soldiers Miss War. A former US Air Force special operations pilot and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Nolan is now a conflict journalist and author whose adventures have taken him to all seven continents. In addition to his memoirs, Nolan has published two fiction collections. He lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, with his wife, Lilya.
More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

Ouija Board aircraft carrier
Low-Tech ‘Ouija Boards’ Have Helped Aircraft Carriers Operate for Decades

Since the 1920s, a low-tech tabletop replica of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck has been an essential tool in coordinating air operations.

Army vs. Navy mascot
The Navy Goat vs. the Army Mule: Mascot Origin Stories

For nearly as long as the Army-Navy football rivalry, the academies’ hoofed mascots have stared each other down from the sidelines. Here are their stories.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved