Families of 3 California-based Marines have been notified that the servicemen died when their tank plunged off a bridge in Iraq and landed in the Euphrates River.
The men, including two Californians, are still listed by the Department of Defense as missing in action. But, the 3 families say Marines visited their homes to say their sons´ bodies had been recovered and would be shipped home within a week. The tank crew has been identified as: Staff Sergeant Donald May Junior of Richmond, Virginia, Lance Corporal Patrick O´Day of Santa Rosa, and Private Francisco A. Martinez Flores of Los Angeles.
All were from a tank battalion at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. The deaths of O´Day and Martinez Flores raise to ten the number of Californians who have died in the war in Iraq.
Martinez Flores´ family says Marines came to the family home in Duarte last night to confirm he was dead. Her son was to have become a U.S. citizen in two weeks and the family hopes citizenship can be granted posthumously.