San Clemente

Remains of Marine Who Died During Training Mission to be Brought Home

The procession is slated to leave the airport about 4 p.m., and anyone who wants to pay respects along the route to the mortuary is encouraged to do so.

Cesar Villanueva is a Marine who is now Presumed Dead
Villanueva Family

The remains of a U.S. Marine who was among nine service members killed when their amphibious craft went down in the waters around San Clemente Island will be returned home to Riverside Tuesday, and a roadside salute is planned along the route the casket will be carried.

Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, drowned July 30 when the 26-ton vessel carrying him and other members of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit sank while on a maritime training mission.

According to the nonprofit Honoring Our Fallen, Villanueva's casket will arrive between 3 and 4 p.m. Tuesday at Ontario International Airport, where a private planeside service is scheduled for loved ones, after which the flag-draped casket will be taken to Pierce Brothers Crestlawn Mortuary on Arlington Avenue in Riverside.

The procession is slated to leave the airport about 4 p.m., and anyone who wants to pay respects along the route to the mortuary is encouraged to do so.

Honoring Our Fallen founder Laura Herzog said the procession will take Interstate 10 east from the airport, then turn south on Interstate 15 and exit onto Sixth Street in Norco. On Sixth, the procession will head east until reaching California Avenue, where it will go north until the intersection of California and Arlington, where the procession will go east again, traveling less than a mile to the mortuary.

All ceremonies at the mortuary will also be private.

According to military officials, Villanueva and the other men were involved in a training exercise during which their craft was maneuvering to rendezvous with a ship 80 miles west of Encinitas.

For unknown reasons, the boat foundered roughly a mile off San Clemente Island, going down in waters about 400 feet deep. Along with eight Marines, a U.S. Navy sailor perished.

Villanueva and Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 18, of Corona, were the only two from Riverside County.

There was no word on funeral arrangements for Baltierra.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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