Seven Marines Killed, Others Injured, in Blast at Nevada Training Site

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
78,635
27,395
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Seattle
#1
Seven Marines Killed, Others Injured, in Blast at Nevada Training Site

By LUIS MARTINEZ | Good Morning America – 22 minutes ago

At least seven U.S. Marines were killed and seven others were injured during a mortar firing exercise in Nevada, the Pentagon said today.

The Marines were all from the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and were training at the

Hawthorne Army Depot 140 miles southeast of Reno, Nev., when a mortar exploded shortly before 10 p.m. Monday.

The injured were taken to area hospitals, according to a statement from the Marines.

Several defense officials say this incident did not appear to involve a round landing on the troops.

The mountainous desert terrain of the 230 square mile depot is used as a training location for special forces since it "provides a realistic simulation of the situation in Afghanistan," according to the depot's website. The depot is also used as a storage site for ammunition awaiting demilitarization.

"We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident. We remain focused on ensuring that they are supported through this difficult time," Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox said in a statement. "We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice."

The army is notifying families before releasing the identities of the soldiers who were killed and said the conditions of the seven injured Marines would be shared as information becomes available.
http://gma.yahoo.com/7-marines-killed-training-accident-134706232--abc-news-topstories.html
 

lajikal

Registered User
Aug 6, 2009
15,951
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#2
Sucks, wonder what happened. Semper Fi.
 

Lord Zero

Viciously Silly
Aug 25, 2008
54,162
12,930
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Atlanta, GA
#3
Dying is a skill the military should teaching. You don't want that kind of training to fall into the wrong hands.
 

Hate & Discontent

Yo, homie. Is that my briefcase?
Aug 22, 2005
15,777
1,343
628
#4
Sounds like a round hung in the tube and someone dropped a second one on top of it.

Sent from the USS Sulaco.
 

f kane

Known Traffic Menace
Feb 10, 2010
798
234
148
#5
Marines are not allowed to die without permission

But seriously RIP
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
78,635
27,395
898
Seattle
#11
Pentagon bans 60 mm mortar round after deaths
By SCOTT SONNER and TED BRIDIS | Associated Press – 9 hrs ago


HAWTHORNE, Nev. (AP) — A mortar shell explosion killed at least seven Marines and injured several more during mountain warfare training in Nevada's high desert, prompting the Pentagon to immediately halt the use of the weapons until an investigation can determine their safety, officials said Tuesday.

The explosion occurred Monday night at the Hawthorne Army Depot, a sprawling facility used by troops heading overseas, during an exercise involving the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Several Marines from the unit were injured in the blast, authorities said.

The mortar round exploded in its firing tube during the exercise, Brig. Gen. Jim Lukeman said at a news conference at Camp Lejeune. He said investigators were trying to determine the cause of the malfunction.

The Pentagon expanded a temporary ban to prohibit the military from firing any 60 mm mortar rounds until the results of the investigation. The Marine Corps said Tuesday a "blanket suspension" of 60 mm mortars and associated firing tubes is in effect.

The Pentagon earlier had suspended use of all high-explosive and illumination mortar rounds that were in the same manufacturing lots as ones fired in Nevada.

It was not immediately clear whether more than a single round exploded, a Marine Corps official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation.

The Marine Corps said early Tuesday that seven Marines were killed. But John Stroud, national junior vice commander in chief for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, began a memorial event in Hawthorne on Tuesday night by saying "one of the critical has passed," bringing the death toll to eight.

Members of the women's Auxiliary of VFW 231 then laid a wreath and eight individual floral arrangements at a park where a flag flew at half-staff within sight of the Hawthorne depot's boundary.

"We honor the eight brave Marines who gave their lives to their country," Stroud said. "When the call of the country was heard, these eight young Marines answered."

Stroud said he spoke with Marine officers from Camp Lejeune who told him about the eighth death before the ceremony. Capt. Binford R. Strickland, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune, said in an email late Tuesday that he could only confirm that seven were killed and eight were injured.

The identities of those killed won't be released until 24 hours after their families are notified.

"We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident," said the force's commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox. "We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice."

The rescue was complicated by the remoteness of the site, which is favored because the harsh geography simulates conditions in Afghanistan.

The 60 mm mortar is a weapon that traditionally requires three to four Marines to operate, but it's common during training for others to observe nearby. The firing tube is supported in a tripod-like design and fires roughly a 3-pound shell, some 14 inches in length and a bit larger than 2 inches in diameter.

The mortar has changed little since World War II and remains one of the simplest weapons to operate, which is why it is found at the lowest level of infantry units, said Joseph Trevithick, a mortar expert with Global Security.org.

"Basically, it's still a pipe and it's got a firing pin at the bottom," Trevithick said. Still, a number of things could go wrong, such as a fuse malfunction, a problem with the barrel's assembly, or a round prematurely detonating inside the tube, he said.

The Marine Corps official said an explosion at the point of firing in a training exercise could kill or maim anyone in or near the protective mortar pit and could concussively detonate any mortars stored nearby in a phenomenon known as "sympathetic detonation."

The official said a worldwide moratorium after such an accident is not unusual and would persist until the investigation determines that the weapon did not malfunction in ways that would hurt other Marines or that mortar shells manufactured at the same time as the one involved in the accident were safe.

The official said it would be normal to warn other U.S. military branches that use 60 mm mortars, such as the Army, about the Marines warning. The moratorium could last for weeks or months.

The investigation will focus on whether the Marines followed procedures to properly fire the weapon, or whether there was a malfunction in the firing device or in the explosive mortar shell itself, the official said.

The Hawthorne Army Depot stores and disposes of ammunition. The facility is made up of hundreds of buildings spread over more than 230 square miles, and bunkers dot the sagebrush-covered hills visible from the highway.

Renown hospital emergency physician Dr. Michael Morkin, at a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, said some of the injured Marines he treated were conscious and "knew something happened but didn't know what."

He said he's "fairly confident" that one of the most seriously injured Marines wouldn't have survived had it not been for the response of a Careflight medical helicopter to the remote site near Hawthorne, 140 miles southeast of Reno.

Morkin said the Marines mostly suffered blunt force trauma from shrapnel.

"They're injuries of varying severity ... to varying parts of the body. They're complicated injuries to deal with," he said.

Retired Nevada state archivist Guy Rocha said the Hawthorne depot opened in 1930, four years after a lightning-sparked explosion virtually destroyed the Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition depot in northern New Jersey, about 40 miles west of New York City.

The blast and fires that raged for days heavily damaged the adjacent Picatinny Army Arsenal and surrounding communities, killing 21 people and seriously injuring more than 50 others.

Hawthorne has held an important place in American military history since World War II when it became the staging area for ammunition, bombs and rockets for the war. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection says that the depot employed more than 5,500 people at its peak.

The facility was considered safely remote, but strategically close to Navy bases in California.

Rocha said he was unaware of any other catastrophic event at the depot over the years it served as a munitions repository. The facility has downsized in recent years but survived a round of base closures nationwide in 2005.

Military officials noted that it gave Marines, Army and Navy personnel a place to train for deployment overseas.

"They train at a similar climate, elevation and terrain as Afghanistan," said Rocha, who has visited the depot many times over the years.

In the small town that calls itself "America's Patriotic Home" near the depot, a massive flag in a park across from the local war memorial waved at half-staff.

Larry Mortensen, an industrial engineer at the depot for 41 years before retiring in 1999, serves with his wife, Carole, on the board of directors of the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum. The museum displays hundreds of shells and other munitions, battery guns and weapons dating to World War II.

Mortensen said there had been fatal accidents at the depot in years past, but none resulting in mass casualties. He said he expected the rural town of about 3,500 residents to rally around victims' families.

"It's a military community. Everybody here supports the military," he said.
http://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-bans-60-mm-mortar-round-deaths-235659090--politics.html
 

Hate & Discontent

Yo, homie. Is that my briefcase?
Aug 22, 2005
15,777
1,343
628
#16
Cough cough... osprey .... Cough cough
...and the F-22...

and the F-35...

I actually saw not one, not two, but THREE CV-22s flying in formation the other day. I got sympathy pains for the maintenance crews when I saw that many up and flying at once.
 

nikoloslvy

I wear my sunglasses at night...Anyone want fries?
Donator
May 5, 2003
4,937
121
753
#18
The damn illumin rounds have bag chargers. The chargers are full of gun powder and you put on different amount of chargers depending on how much your elevation on your sight is called to set to (how far its gonna go). Most chargers come in neat little yellow or white plastic thingys…but the old ones are in bags that are almost stapled to the round….if the gunline calls for charge 3 you have to literally start ripping off the lil baggie chargers. Maybe thats just how all illimun rounds are…I'vie never fired an ilimun round without em…i always thought it was because they were old rounds..i could be wrong…the fins were always fucked an shiity..always had at least 2 misfires per evolution.

Random vid on the firing line...