A viewing and rosary service will be held Wednesday evening in memory of a Southland Marine who was killed in the crash of an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft off the coast of Australia.
PFC Ruben Velasco, 19, a graduate of West Covina High School, was one of three Marines killed in the Aug. 5 crash of the MV-22 Osprey. Twenty-three other Marines survived the crash.
The viewing and rosary service at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier will begin at 5 p.m. Funeral services for Velasco will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Velasco’s body, accompanied by family, was flown to Los Angeles International Airport Friday night, and the fallen Marine was escorted in a procession by members of the West Covina Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol.
According to Velasco’s mother, Gemily Calzada, the services are open to “friends, family and anyone who would like to honor Ruben.”
Calzada has been raising money for funeral expenses through the GoFundMe website. She wrote on the page that while the military provides funds to cover funeral costs, the money all went to Velasco’s father, leaving her side of the family unable to fully fund extended costs such as travel expenses for relatives.
“Ruben’s entire family should have the ability to celebrate his life and attend his funeral,” Calzada wrote on the page, which had raised more than $8,000 as of Tuesday. “These funds will help to pay for them to be here.”
The other two Marines who died in the crash were identified as Cpl. Nathan Ordway of Kansas and 1st Lt. Benjamin Robert Cross of Maine.
—City News Service
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