As a US Marine pilot continues to fight for his life in a Brisbane hospital, details have emerged of the three other decorated Marines that were tragically killed when their MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed and sank in the sea during a training exercise in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area off the Central Queensland coast over the weekend.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) divers now face the grisly task of recovering their bodies, believed to be trapped 50m down in the submerged wreckage. It has been confirmed that the Navy's HMAS Melville had located the wreckage of the ill-fated Osprey.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday 8 August, it is believed that high-ranking officers of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) touched down at Rockhampton Airport on board United States Navy (US Navy) Gulfstream C-37B bizjet wearing the serial number 166377.
It looked to arrive from Darwin and was heard using the radio callsign of "Marine 101" (flight number 'VM101').
Of interest, the C-37B is flown by the Navy's Fleet Logistics Support Squadron VR-1 "Star Lifters" based at Joint Base Andrews / Naval Air Facility Washington. The C-37B is the US military designation for the Gulfstream G550 bizjet in a VIP passenger configuration.
Back at Rockhampton Airport, the C-37B met a pair of USMC Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft which flew in from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) together as "Puff 01".
They were identified as 168220 / EP-00 and 168028 / EP-07.
Both Ospreys are flown by the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265) "Dragons", which is part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. As shown, 168220 / EP-00 is the 'CAG bird' - a specially painted aircraft, officially flown by the commanding officer of United States Navy Carrier Air Groups.
Soon after the Gulfstream arrived, both Ospreys departed back to the USS Bonhomme Richard.
Then as the sun was setting on Tuesday 8 August, both Ospreys returned to Rockhampton Airport, dropping off passengers before departing and returning once again to the ship.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotters 'IAD' and Daniel B for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!
Photos taken by 'IAD' and Daniel Bishop ©