Funeral held for 19-year-old La Puente Marine killed in aircraft crash off Australian coast

WHITTIER, Calif. (KABC) -- Funeral services were held Thursday in Whittier for a 19-year-old Marine who was killed during training exercises off the coast of Australia earlier this month.

Pfc. Ruben Velasco, of La Puente, and two other Marines died after a MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed into waters 18 miles from the Shoalwater Bay training area on Aug. 5, according to a news release. Twenty-three others who were onboard the aircraft survived the incident.

Ruben Velasco, 19, of La Puente, is shown in his U.S. Marines photo.

1st Lt. Benjamin R. Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine, and Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas, were also killed in the crash.

During the funeral, Velasco was laid to rest with full military honors. Hundreds of people attended and supported his family.

There were many veterans who attended the funeral who didn't know Velasco, but wanted to honor a fellow serviceman.

"When they're brothers like this, you know, it's really tough and I just can't not be here," one veteran said.

Velasco graduated from West Covina High School in 2016. He then joined the Marine Corps.

Multiple agencies helped escort his casket on Aug. 25 in a procession from Los Angeles International Airport to a mortuary in Whittier, where it was met by loved ones and a contingent of fellow Marines.

A GoFundMe page was created to help pay for Velasco's funeral expenses. By Thursday morning, the fundraiser had exceeded its goal of $5,000 by more than $3,300.
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