Services set in Illinois for Marine who died in drowning off Okinawa
BEARDSTOWN, Ill. (Tribune News Service) — Services will be Saturday for a former Ashland resident who died in an apparent drowning while stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
Sgt. Aubrey D. Williams, 29, died Oct. 29, according to the Marine Corps. He was the third service member to die last month in what officials said was a drowning or diving accident.
Williams, who was now residing in Oceanside, California, was identified by military officials earlier this month. He was deployed as part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa. According to a statement from the Marine Corps, he was a UH-1 helicopter crew chief for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Marine Aircraft 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
He had enlisted in 2012. It was uncertain whether he was swimming, diving or involved in some other water activity when the accident occurred, according to the publication Stars and Stripes.
The investigation is ongoing.
“[We are] deeply saddened by Sgt. Williams’ passing,” squadron commander Lt. Col. Robert J. Weingart said in the statement. “He was a devoted husband and father, as well as a mentor to the Marines around him. The entire squadron mourns his loss.”
Williams has a wife and three children. He was a decorated Marine, having received a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
A day after his death, another Marine died near Maeda Point on Okinawa’s west coast. That Marine has not been identified, but his death was the third in a month — Petty Officer 1st Class Jorge Noriega Suarez died Oct. 10 while diving — and prompted a moratorium on all water-related activities off the island.
Williams will be buried in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Beardstown with military honors. His funeral will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. John’s Lutheran Church.