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A Marine assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit drowned Tuesday when the tank in which he was riding fell off a U.S. Navy landing craft, air cushioned hovercraft and sank in Apra Harbor, Guam.

Cpl. Adam S. Lipford, 22, of Madisonville, La., was in an M1A1 battle tank when it fell into the harbor Tuesday afternoon, according to Marine Capt. Bill Pelletier, 13th MEU public affairs officer.

Rescue and recovery personnel recovered the Marine just after 6 p.m., Pelletier said. Lipford, who was assigned to 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

Pelletier said the accident occurred during the fourth day of an agricultural wash down.

“At the end of every deployment, units are required to undergo inspections to ensure the vehicles are free of environmental or agricultural contamination,” said Pelletier in an e-mail. “All our vehicles are offloaded … washed, inspected … and put back on the ships once they’re certified clean.”

The tank Lipford in which was riding was being transported from the wash down site on a Guam beach back to the USS Germantown. Pelletier said the cause of the accident is under investigation.


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