19-year-old Marine from East Troy presumed dead in California training accident

NOW: 19-year-old Marine from East Troy presumed dead in California training accident

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- A Wisconsin Marine is among those presumed dead after a training exercise last week in Southern California. 

Private First Class Evan Bath, a 19-year-old rifleman from East Troy, is among the eight missing and presumed dead. 

“He always told me ‘mom, I don’t want people thanking me for my service because I haven’t done anything’,” says Aleta. “But he has now and he’s my hero.”

Aleta Bath’s hero is her son, Evan.

“He said ‘mom, I can never face my ancestors if I can’t fight for my country’,” says Aleta. “And he would say ‘mom, I’ve got to fight for those people that can’t fight for themselves’.”

According to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Force, crew members reported they had taken on water during their shore-to-ship operations near San Clement Island around 5:45 Thursday evening.

“Sometimes it’s hard to read all that because it makes it more real,” says Aleta. “And right now, it just doesn’t seem real.”

Evan grew up in East Troy with his mom and stepfather, in Oak Creek with his father and two step-sisters, and family in Texas.

Evan graduated from the public online school Connections Academy.

“I got to talk to him via text that day to say ‘I love you’,” says Aleta. “So, I knew he was happy. It’s comforting.”

Aleta says the passion her son displayed for the Marines is one she’ll continue as part of his legacy.

“I signed up to be a Marine mom and I’m still a Marine mom,” says Aleta. “Some of his brothers have reached out to me and I’ve told them I’m here.”

Aleta says she has faith in the organization in finding her son now that the vessel has been found.

The Marine Corps says similar training has been suspended until factors of this mishap are better understood.

The US Marine Corps said Sunday, Aug. 2, they had called off the search that started Thursday, July 30 when the amphibious assault vehicle sank with 15 marines and one Navy sailor aboard. 

Eight Marines were rescued, but one later died and two are in critical condition. 

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