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'Major announcement' expected one year after fatal military AAV accident off San Clemente Island

8 Marines, 1 sailor killed in July 2020 incident
Posted at 6:03 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 13:56:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Lawyers representing the families of military service members killed in an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) accident last year are expected to make what they are calling a "major announcement."

Friday, July 30, will mark one year since eight Marines and one Navy sailor were killed after a training accident off the coast of San Clemente Island.

"He had a wonderful personality; he was very well-liked," said Evelyn Baltierra, remembering her son, Bryan Baltierra, a Private First Class (PFC) Marine who was killed in the incident.

Bryan was 18 years old, almost 19, and a Marine for exactly one year.

"On his anniversary is when this accident happened," said his father, Carlos Baltierra.

He said Bryan dreamed of joining the Marines at a young age. He was one of four children but the couple's only son. They have two daughters older than Bryan and one younger.

Since his passing, these parents have searched for answers.

"It's like a silent grief within ourselves," said Evelyn.

They were given what they say were lengthy and heavily redacted investigative reports on the incident earlier this year and ultimately told this tragedy was preventable. This has left them with even more questions.

"To really know the truth that this could have all been avoided and our boys would have still been alive, it's so hard to understand," said Evelyn.

"I think as parents we deserve to be told exactly what happened, and redacting a report, we'll always have this question mark," said Carlos.

On Thursday, the Baltierra's say they and families of the other fallen servicemen plan to meet with the company that designs and manufactures AAV's, in an effort to better understand from a different perspective why this possibly happened and what's being done to promote safer vehicles.

"And make sure the new ACV's that are being built don't have the same problem that the old AAV has," said Carlos.

In addition to the significant announcement expected by the attorneys, video from inside the AAV on the day of the incident will also be released.

The families will also share final text messages sent from the troops on board before the accident.

"We want answers. We want to make sure our boys will never be forgotten," said Carlos.