Camp Pendleton Marines were killed in ordinance fields as they were sweeping the area after a training exercise. The four marines have not been identified, as relatives have to be notified first. The accident happened at 11 a.m. Wednesday during a range maintenance operation at the San Diego County coastal base.
A U.S. military official told NBC News that the Camp Pendleton Marines had just finished taking part in field exercises when explosives were detonated. A source said the incident happened in an area where Marines actively drop ordinance from aircraft, but that there was no firing happening in the area at the time.
Camp Pendleton, is not far north of San Diego, and is the Marine Corps’ main water and land training base on the West Coast. It is home to the I Marine Expeditionary Force. The accident occurred at the Zulu Impact Area of the 125,000-acre military training base..
Although being a Camp Pendleton Marine is a dangerous employment choice for anyone, these men, as well as other brave men, have lost their lives in support of their country. They were willing to enter a lethal minefield to attempt to disarm it for the safety of their brother Marines. Unfortunately, these four men will not be using their learned skills from this exercise.
Just last February, a Marine was killed in an active-duty training exercise in Riverside County, California. The Marine was a part of skydiving training and he went down near Perris Valley Airport. As far as the use of Perris Valley Airport by the military, less than 1 percent of the facility is used by military trainers. Mostly, the airport is used for local aviation, with Ultralight planes being most popular.
Two months before that, a mortar went off and was fatal to seven Marines during a training exercise in Nevada. It started serious questions about the need to have live-fire training since explosions can now be simulated to replicate its effects and injuries. During a training exercise in Nevada, which prompted questions about the necessity of live-fire training in an era when explosions can now simulate the chaos of warfare without replicating its injuries.
In the latest news about the Camp Pendleton Marines, The Associated Press cited a Marine official who anonymously said the tragedy took place during a “periodic sweep of explosive materials.” But according to NBC San Diego, “sources inside the Pentagon said the Marines were not clearing the range, but instead doing some sort of training when the deadly detonation occurred.”
Camp Pendleton Marines killed in ordinance fields have the challenge of being ready for real warfare by training in these important exercises. Marines are on the front lines, so their potential to be injured or even killed is increased exponentially. These four Marines’ mission for their country has been cut short, but the sacrifices they made during their tour of duties does not go unappreciated.
By Lisa M Pickering