Tanaka was a member of Rhino 2-1, a squad sent to the USS Sulaco to support Rhino 2-3, a squad who went in first in search of Ellen Ripley, Corporal Dwayne Hicks, and the rest of the missing marines who were dispatched to LV-426 19 weeks earlier. USS Sephora found the Sulaco which is now orbiting LV-426. Captain Cruz sends a detachment of marines to locate and recover the flight data recorder, unfortunately the group was attacked by unknown entities. Just as Winter is nearing the Sulaco's airlock, an explosion occurs and Cruz is forced to disable the umbilical airlocks. Upon arriving on the Sulaco, Winter meets Paluski who try to revive Tanaka, but he is already dead.
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