Marines from 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division fire a M101 105 mm Howitzer during the playing of taps at the Iwo Jima 60th Anniversary Commemorative on 26 March 2005. Camp Pendleton, California./Wikimedia Commons
Date 26 March 2005
The four Marines killed in an explosion at Camp Pendleton in California on Wednesday were unexploded bomb disposal technicians, the Marine Corps said Thursday.
The names of those killed have been released, USA Today confirms.
The victims were:
- Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach. Marsh was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to headquarters and squadron Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. He had two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins, 31, of Bayou L'Ourse, La. He was an explosive ordnance disposal staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge assigned to headquarters and headquarters squadron at Pendleton. He had deployed twice to Afghanistan.
- Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Vista, Calif. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to headquarters and headquarters squadron at Pendleton. He had two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ortiz is survived by three children, ages three, six and nine.
- Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the explosive ordnance disposal platoon, airfield operations company, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, at Pendleton. He had deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, and three times to Afghanistan.
The four men were killed in an explosion at about 11 a.m. Wednesday while clearing unexploded ordnance from a range, known as the Zulu impact area, according to NBC Los Angeles.
The Zulu area is used for firing explosive munitions as well as bomb-dropping exercises. Live-fire training was not occurring when the explosion went off.
Two other Marines and a Navy Hospital Corpsman were injured in the blast and were both treated at the scene.
"Explosive Ordnance Disposal is a small and tight-knit community, not just in the Marine Corps, but in the entire US military. Our focus now is on ensuring these families receive the help and support they need," said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in a statement Thursday.
The incident is being called a "tragic accident." It comes eight months after seven Marines were killed and eight injured after a mortar exploded at a training ground in Nevada. The accident in Nevada was the result of human error.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of Wednesday's accident.