Fallen marine returns to SoCal with full honors

- The body of PFC Ruben Velasco was received on the tarmac at LAX on Friday night.

“None of this feels real it still feels like a dream,” his brother, Richard Velasco Jr. said. “It’s a nightmare and we’re just still waiting to wake up.”

Velasco’s family, who wore t-shirts and tags with his photo, gathered with other marines, veterans and local law enforcement to honor the fallen solider. 

“He was brave, he was outgoing,” his mother, Gemily Calzada, said. “He was just a go-getter.”

The brave marine was killed in early August during a training mission involving an Osprey helicopter off the coast of Australia. Officials said he was the last of three marines to be recovered.

“We had heard that they stopped looking for him and we thought it was not proper they needed to find him,” Rep. Grace Napolitano, D- CA 32nd District, said.

Velasco’s body was flown home Friday.

The 19-year-old was greeted with a solemn salute followed by a processional from the airport to Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier.

The marine from West Covina joined the service right after high school.

“He was just really motivated, really determined, ambitious and if he wanted something he was going to go get it,” his brother said.

“I tried to talk him out of it, not to join the service and he said it’s something I want to do, I want to travel,” Susan Casiello, his grandmother, said.

Velasco served for just a year and a half before his death.

His family said he was a proud marine and wanted to make a difference.

The marine planned for a career in law enforcement after the service.

Officers with the West Covina Police Department mentored him during his high school years.

Funeral services at the Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills Cemetery will take place on August 31st.

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