Marines fire an M777 lightweight howitzer during artillery training in August at Camp Pendleton, Calif. On Wednesday, Nov. 13, four Marines conducting range maintenance were killed, according to base officials. (Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore / Marine Corps)
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Four Marines were killed during a range maintenance operation aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., according to base officials.
The cause of the 11 a.m. accident is under investigation. The identities of the Marines have not been released pending notification of next of kin, and few other details have been released by the Marine Corps.
Gretel C. Kovach of the San Diego Union Tribune, quoting an unidentified Marine official, is reporting that the Marines who died were explosive ordnance disposal technicians who were sweeping the Zulu impact area for unexploded munitions. NBC News also reported that a U.S. military official said the incident involved the detonation of unexploded ordnance on a range at the base.
Camp Pendleton’s weekly noise advisory reports that mortar and artillery live-fire training was scheduled from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday in the Whiskey/Zulu impact areas, which are adjoining. However, 1st Lt. Ryan Finnegan emphasized that all of that high-explosive training was planned for the Whiskey area, not where the deaths occurred.
Brig. Gen. John Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, provided the following statement:
“We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident. Our first priority is to provide the families with the support they need during this difficult time.”
The Marine Corps will provide information as it becomes available, according to a news release.
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