OAK CREEK - A Marine from Oak Creek was identified as one of eight service members presumed dead after a training accident off the California coast Thursday, July 30. FOX6 News spoke with Private First Class Evan Bath's mother, Aleta, about the tragedy and how she's remembering her son.
Private First Class Bath, just 19, attended Oak Creek High School for three years before finishing his senior year virtually so he could spend most of his time preparing to enlist, his mom said. She said Monday, Aug. 3 a phone call one week ago would be the last time she ever talked to her only child.
Private First Class Evan Bath
"He found a doorway in the ship that he found a little bit of signal, and he called me," she said.
The 19-year-old rifleman who had been stationed at Camp Pendleton was getting ready for his first deployment.
"He said he was really happy, so I knew that," said Aleta Bath. "It made me happy."
Search for missing service members after training accident off California coast
It was during that training that officials with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said 15 Marines and one sailor were riding an amphibious assault vehicle when they began to take on water and sank.
One person was confirmed dead as a result of the incident while eight others, including Bath were still missing as of Monday, following an extensive 40-hour search.
"The first, probably, two days were very emotional," said Aleta Bath. "I, right now, just feel numb. It doesn't feel real right now."
Presumed dead Private First Class Bath leaves behind his mom and dad, as well as his stepmom, two stepsisters and his church family at Lifepoint in Mukwonago.
"I just want him to come home, and I know for the Marines, they'll do whatever it takes to have their brother come home," said Aleta Bath.
Determined to be a Marine since he was little, Aleta said it was her son's mission in life to protect his country, and he died doing what he loved.
"All I care about is him," said Aleta Bath. "He's my hero."
Aleta Bath said she was supposed to visit her son in August before his deployment.
The incident remains under investigation.