Marines heading back to base after fatal accident
Marines from the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force are returning to Camp Lejeune, N.C., after a fatal live-fire training accident killed seven of their number in Hawthorne on March 18.
Five of the injured remain hospitalized at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, according to spokesman Capt. Binford Strickland.
Four Marines’ conditions have been upgraded and they are expected to be released from the hospital this week.
Lance Cpl. Sean J. Burke, Lance Cpl. Myles E. Harris, Sgt. Caleb W. Patton and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan P. West have been upgraded from seriously injured to not seriously injured.
Pfc. James P. Davies, Pfc. Trent M. Martin and Lance Cpl. Douglas L. Hand II have returned to the unit.
Navy Hospitalman 3rd Class Ian S. McClanahan will remain hospitalized with serious injuries, Strickland said.
The accident occurred when a 60-mm mortar shell exploded in the launch tube.
The Marines killed in the accident are Pfc. Joshua M. Martino, 19, of Clearfield, Pa.; Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla.; Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, of Fairfield, Conn.; Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio; Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C.; Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, 21, of Anne Arundel, Md.; and Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, of Madison, Ill.
Use of the 60-mm mortar system the Marines were training with has been suspended pending the results of an investigation.
“We send our prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines and sailors who have been killed and injured in this tragic accident,” said Brig. Gen. Jim Lukeman, 2nd Marine Division Commanding General. “Our first priority is to provide them with the support they need during this very difficult time, and we’re doing that right now.”