Vehicles file through the main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base on, Nov. 13, 2013.
(Photo: By Lenny Ignelzi, AP)
The four Marines killed in an explosion at Camp Pendleton were unexploded bomb disposal technicians at the base, the Marine Corps said Thursday.
The four died in an explosion around 11 am. Wednesday in the Zulu impact area, part of the large training range operations at the large Marine base in San Diego County, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to headquarters and headquarters squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. He had deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to 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 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 deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
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, Iraq and three times to Afghanistan.
In addition, a Navy hospital corpsman and two Marines who were near the explosion were treated at the scene for minor injuries, the military said.
Pendleton officials said the impact area is used for firing explosives such as grenades, mortars, artillery and rockets, and for dropping bombs from aircraft. They said in a statement that no live-fire training was being conducted in the Zulu area at the time of the explosion, although live-fire training was going on at the adjacent Whiskey area.
"Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines we lost yesterday. 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 Bullard, the commanding general.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
William M. Welch, USA TODAY