The remains of a Marine from Bethel who died during a training exercise this month have been recovered off the coast of Australia.

According to Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military publication, the body of Benjamin Cross, 26, was found and will soon be shipped to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. From there, the remains will be transported to a final destination determined by the family.

Search and rescue crews earlier this week also recovered the remains of two other Marines who died during the incident – Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Kansas and Lance Cpl. Ruben Velasco, 19, of California.

All three were killed when an MV-22 Osprey, a large hybrid helicopter-airplane, crashed into the ocean during a training exercise on Aug. 5.

Twenty-three other crew members on board were rescued.

Ryan Cross, Benjamin Cross’ brother, said the recovery of the body will allow the family to plan a funeral. He said the date will be determined once the family gets more information on when the body will be sent back to Maine.


He said the funeral will be in Bethel and his brother will be buried in a family plot in Skowhegan.

“It’s been a long road and we are thankful for the efforts on the part of the Australians, the U.S. Navy and the Marines,” Ryan Cross said Friday.

He said the family was contacted Wednesday about the recovery of his brother’s body.

His parents, Ryan Cross said, “are doing about as well as can be expected. It’s been frustrating for them, but we’re thankful that Ben will be home.”

According to statements by the Marine Corps, the three Marines were trapped in the Osprey after it struck the deck of a Navy amphibious transport dock and then crashed into the water.

Cross, a first lieutenant who was promoted posthumously to captain, spent most of his childhood in Bethel, where he was a standout athlete and student and dear friend to many.


Cross graduated in 2009 from Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, a town of about 2,600 in western Oxford County. He was frequently named to the honor roll, and during his senior year was named Mr. Telstar and received numerous scholarships, including a President’s Award for Academic Excellence and a Marine Corps NROTC scholarship.

He attended Virginia Military Institute and spent time in Washington, D.C., Florida and Texas before he was sent overseas with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, stationed on Okinawa, Japan, about a year ago.

Cross was training in Australia for the last three months, family members said.

The investigation into the Osprey crash is continuing.

The V-22 Osprey – called the MV-22 by the Marines – can lift off like a helicopter and rotate its propellers to fly like an airplane. During its development by Bell Helicopter and Boeing, the aircraft was involved in four crashes that caused 30 deaths. Since coming into service in 2007, Ospreys have been involved in five more crashes resulting in nine more fatalities, according to Fortune magazine.

The Osprey that crashed was assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Okinawa.


Eric Russell can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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