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Politics Overnight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator

02:15  05 august  2020
02:15  05 august  2020 Source:   thehill.com

1 Marine dead, 8 missing after training accident off California coast

  1 Marine dead, 8 missing after training accident off California coast One Marine was killed and 8 others are missing after the small amphibious vehicle they were on took water in an exercise off of southern California. The incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. PT in the vicinity of West Cove on San Clemente Island, a defense official said. Located 80 miles off the coast of Southern California, the island is managed by the U.S. Navy and frequently used by the Navy and Marine Corps for training.

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

a man riding on the back of a boat: Overnight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator © US Marine Corps Overnight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator

THE TOPLINE: The Marines Corps has found the amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) that sank off the coast of Southern California last week, killing nine service members, the service said Tuesday.

A US Marine is dead and 8 service members are missing after an amphibious assault vehicle sank off the coast of California

  A US Marine is dead and 8 service members are missing after an amphibious assault vehicle sank off the coast of California The US Marine Corps said the accident took place during a routine training exercise near the island of San Clemente."1 Marine has died, 8 service members remain missing and 2 were injured after an AAV mishap July 30 off the coast of Southern California," the I Marine Expeditionary Force tweeted early Friday, adding that all of the Marines in the vehicle were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group found the AAV on Monday, according to a I MEF news release.

The Navy's Undersea Rescue Command also found human remains on board by using an underwater remotely operated video system from a merchant ship, the release added.

What happened: The AAV, which is used for amphibious troop transports, sank Thursday after taking on water during a training exercise off the coast of San Clemente Island.

The vehicle sank to a depth of about 385 feet, Tuesday's release said.

Who was lost: One Marine, identified as 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pompeo, Taliban negotiator discuss Afghan peace process: Taliban spokesman

  Pompeo, Taliban negotiator discuss Afghan peace process: Taliban spokesman Pompeo, Taliban negotiator discuss Afghan peace process: Taliban spokesmanPompeo and Baradar, who is based in Qatar, also discussed the issue of prisoners whose release by the Afghan government is demanded by the insurgents, Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman in Doha, said on Twitter.

Seven other Marines and a Navy sailor were reported missing after the accident. Officials announced Sunday they are presumed dead.

Those presumed dead were identified as Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19; U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19; and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21.

The Navy's plans now: The Navy is expediting sending equipment to recover the remains, as well as bring up the AAV, with the equipment expected to be in place by the end of the week, the news release said.

Two other Marines were injured in the accident. Sixteen service members were on board the vehicle at the time of the incident.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

4TH SERVICE MEMBER KILLED BY COVID-19: A fourth U.S. service member has died from the coronavirus, the first such case since May, according to the Pentagon.

Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response

  Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: Anthony Tata wasn't able to get a confirmation hearing, but he is getting a senior role at the Pentagon.In a statement released Sunday night, the Pentagon said Tata was withdrawing from consideration as under secretary of Defense for policy -- and being appointed the official performing the duties of the deputy under secretary of Defense for policy.

Data published Monday by the Defense Department listed the death of the individual, who was in the Army, but no other information.

The Pentagon on Friday last updated its COVID-19 data - which includes confirmed cases of the disease, hospitalizations, recoveries and deaths of DOD personnel, contractors and family members - indicating that the service member died over the weekend.

The Army did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

There have now been 68 coronavirus-related deaths within the DOD community, including 43 civilians, 14 contractors and seven dependents, according to the Pentagon data.

The numbers now: The last service member to die of complications related to COVID-19 was 34-year-old Army reservist Sgt. Simon Zamudio, who was not on active orders at the time of his death.

Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickock, a New Jersey National Guardsman, became the first service member to die of the illness in March. That was followed by the April death of Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a 41-year-old aviation ordnanceman and one of the more than 1,000 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who contracted the virus.

Military finds human remains, sunken tank off California

  Military finds human remains, sunken tank off California SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Navy has located a seafaring tank that sank off the Southern California coast last week and was working to recover human remains, officials said Tuesday. The Navy planned to place equipment near the amphibious assault vehicle that is under 385 feet (117 meters) of water by the end of the week to begin the recovery of the remains. After that process is complete, it will raise the amphibious vehicle. Seven Marines and one NavyThe Navy planned to place equipment near the amphibious assault vehicle that is under 385 feet (117 meters) of water by the end of the week to begin the recovery of the remains. After that process is complete, it will raise the amphibious vehicle.

In total, the Pentagon has reported 41,361 coronavirus cases as of Monday.

POMPEO, TALIBAN OFFICIAL HUDDLE ON AFGHAN PEACE PROCESS: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday discussed the Afghan peace process with the Taliban's chief negotiator, Mullah Baradar Akhund, according to a Taliban spokesman.

The virtual meeting included discussions over Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government, spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted.

"Both sides talked about the inception of intra-Afghan negotiations" and emphasized that "release of the remaining prisoners are essential for commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations," Shaheen wrote.

The State Department declined to comment.

Earlier: The meeting came after Afghan security forces ended the siege of a major prison in eastern Afghanistan by Islamic State militants in which hundreds of prisoners escaped, Reuters reported. It was not immediately known if any of the escapees include any of the prisoners the Taliban is demanding be released, according to the newswire.

Release of the prisoners has been a major challenge in the peace talks, which were set to have started in March, the newswire noted.

What each side wants: An agreement between the U.S. and Taliban earlier this year for U.S. troop withdrawal called for Afghanistan to free up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for the release by the insurgents of up to 1,000 government detainees, Reuters noted.

Sunken amphibious assault vehicle found after accident that killed 9 in military

  Sunken amphibious assault vehicle found after accident that killed 9 in military The 9 service members had either been confirmed or presumed dead after the training accident off the coast of Southern California last week.One Marine was pronounced dead at the scene and the other seven Marines and the sailor are presumed dead after the training accident Thursday off the coast of San Clemente Island.

The Taliban has released around 1,000 detainees, and under U.S. pressure the Afghan government has freed around 4,600 Taliban prisoners named on a list compiled by the insurgents, the newswire reported.

More US troops to leave by the election?: Trump - in a recently released interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan - said the U.S. military will draw down to between 4,000 and 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by November.

"We'll be down now in a very short period of time to 8,000; then we're going to be down to 4,000," Trump said. "We're negotiating right now. We've been there for 19 years - 19 years."

The Pentagon has reduced the number of U.S. forces in the country from roughly 13,000 to about 8,500, as agreed upon in a Feb 29 deal between the Taliban and the United States.

Defense officials have maintained that for Washington to draw down beyond that, the Taliban would first need to live up to a commitment to reduce violent attacks, which has not yet happened.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

The United States Institute of Peace will hold a webinar on "Pakistan's National Security Outlook," with Moeed Yusuf, Pakistani special assistant to the prime minister on national security and strategic policy planning; and former State Department Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson, at 10:30 a.m.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a webinar on "Why Did the United States Invade Iraq?" with former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at 11 a.m.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper; Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran; and Wendy Sherman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, will all speak at the Aspen Security Forum beginning at 12 p.m.

Military finds amphibious vehicle that sank in a training incident that killed 8 Marines and a sailor

  Military finds amphibious vehicle that sank in a training incident that killed 8 Marines and a sailor The US military has identified the location of the amphibious assault vehicle that sank last week off the California coast, killing eight Marines and one sailor. © LT Curtis Khol/US Navy A remotely operated vehicle is deployed in the effort to recover the servicemen's remains. The AAV was found Monday off San Clemente Island, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force tweeted Tuesday. Human remains on board were identified using remotely operated video systems, according to the tweet. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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Remains of Marines, sailor who died in training accident recovered .
Their vehicle sank during a July training exercise in Southern California. After initially saying recovery efforts would likely be unsuccessful, officials with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) positively identified the AAV on Aug. 3, nearly 400 feet underwater. Specialized equipment on a diving and salvage ship to recover the remains and AAV arrived Aug. 6, officials said. Their remains were recovered Friday.

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