Investigation into fatal explosion that killed four Marines on Camp Pendleton has been concluded; two relieved of duties

CAMP PENDLETON – The Marine Corps experienced a tragic loss on Nov 13, 2013, when four Marines from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community died as a result of a training evolution aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

As a result of the mishap, a command investigation was initiated by Brig. Gen. John Bullard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The investigation established that the exact cause of the explosion is indeterminate, as the only individuals with direct observation are deceased. Based on the findings of the investigation, the most probable cause of the explosion is a M430/A1 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose round was dropped, kicked, or bumped in the demolition pit.

“Many of the training evolutions we conduct are inherently dangerous, especially when dealing with explosives and munitions. We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of four Marines during a training evolution; their loss is felt throughout the Marine Corps. We offer our heartfelt prayers and thoughts to the family members, and will continue to support them through this difficult time,” said Bullard.

Upon a thorough review of the command investigation, Bullard relieved the Officer and Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Marine Corps Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal section of their duties on March 4, 2014, for loss of trust and confidence in their ability to ensure proper preparation for and conduct of EOD proficiency training and lack of adherence to the established norms.

Additionally, Bullard directed an immediate review and revision of existing policies and procedures for EOD training aboard all Marine Corps Installations West ranges.

Revisions will include a requirement for more focused Operational Risk Management training on risk assessment, risk mitigation, and appropriate levels of approval; specific coordination requirements for all EOD training requests; mandatory adherence to the range survey requirements contained in the Technical Manual EOD Procedures Surface Range Clearance; and the implementation of additional safety training requirements for EOD personnel not currently required by other directives.

12 Responses to "Investigation into fatal explosion that killed four Marines on Camp Pendleton has been concluded; two relieved of duties"

  1. Lee   March 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    How utterly sad!

    These young souls died for what? For what?! So that they can protect our rights, freedoms, liberties and all that propaganda we espouse and hide behind whenever such a tragedy as this or war, in general, occurs? Really? Well, ask yourselves this questions, my fellow Americans: what’s the price of a human being’s life? What is it? Somebody has to die so that you and I can live and enjoy our liberties? Is that the kind of nation and world we want, one where people have to DIE in order for others to live?


    I want to live in a world where not a single drop of blood is shed for ANY cause! I want to live in a world where these four young souls — young men, I take it — do far more important things such as . . . chasing ladies, settling down, going to college, raising a family, contributing to a PEACEFUL society, etc. THAT’S the kind of society/world I want, and that’s the kind of world EVERY single one of us not only wants, too, but should and must do anything in his/her powers to achieve!

    These four souls? What a shameful reminder, yet again, of how those in society, i.e., our political leaders, fail us on a daily basis to create a peaceful society so that we need folks like these four poor souls, soldiers, who end up dead . . . for nothing.

    Shame on our politicians! Shame on them!

  2. ZZZ   March 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Accidents happen everyday and losses suffered. Condolences to the families in their grief.

  3. grunt   March 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Lee, most people would want to live in that world; but since it is only MOST, then, yes, young men (mostly, but females too) must die to provide you the liberties and freedoms you enjoy. Freedom is not free, and if you would prefer to trade the freedoms for a yoke of slavery I feel sorry for you. Living under the heel of someone will NOT guarantee you safety. You remind me of the weaklings in HS that kiss *** of the "tough" boys so as not to be picked on, yet was miserable and afraid ever day, Shakespeare, (I believe) said "the coward dies a hundred deaths, the brave but one,

    To my fallen brothers; thank you for willing to die to keep America free; pay no attention to Lee.

  4. Really?   March 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I kinda like you Lee, but your whining, and posting on subjects that demand a little respect, is making me feel a bit sorry for you, I’m not talking ‘hey, that guy has a flat tire’ kind of sorry but more like

  5. Lee   March 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @ #2 ZZZ

    Do you have a heart? What if, heaven forbid, one of your children, nieces or nephews were the ones who were killed? How would you feel THEN? How?

    @ #3 Grunt

    Let me see if I got this straight. You, who cannot write a grammatically-correct sentence if your life depended on it, now wants to chat Shakespeare with me? Hey, by all means; I have no problem with that.

    Sure, Shakespeare said that, but why don’t we look at the entire play instead of what Shakespeare REALLY said about heroism, government, politics, politicians, etc.? You know what he said? Because they all lead to death, these concepts are all garbage! Needless to say, I couldn’t agree more. Or if you want to enlighten yourself more about Shakespeare and his thoughts on these topics, I recommend that you read or watch some of his history plays such as the four that were BEAUTIFULLY produced and shown on KPBS this past fall: The Hollow Crown series After all is said and done, Shakespeare, again, believes and shows us just what a bunch of nonsense all these seemingly-virtuous, well, virtues such as heroism, nationalism, patriotism, monarchy, government, governance, politics, war, armies, etc. are. Because they ALL lead to death — such as these four poor souls who died in a COMPLETELY meaningless mine explosion — they are a bunch of you-know-what. It’s that simple. And I could not agree more. If heroism leads to death, then why is it SO good? Shouldn’t anybody and anything that preserves LIFE be a hero and heroic? That’s what I believe; call me crazy. Ah yes, you will undoubtedly argue that this is exactly the point: that those who dies are heroes so that you and I live. Riiiiiiiiight, riiiiiiiiiiight. That’s easy for you to say: you are alive; they are dead.

    Death is wrong; life is good. Call me crazy.

    PS. Grunt, I’m a bit confused. You say most people want to live in a free world, yet in your next breath you tell other human beings who, mind you, have a mind, brain and heart of their own, to NOT pay any attention to me. Is there anything that you do NOT wish to control, Grunt? Do you not think that people can make up their own mind about any of our comments? Do you believe they need YOU to steer their thinking in a particular direction? If so, how is that freedom? Can’t wait for that explanation, freedom-loving buddy!

  6. Lee   March 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    @ #4 Really?

    What does that have to do with me?

  7. grunt   March 7, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Lee, I live in the real world — you don’t; if only ONE person did not agree with you in your world, it would not exist.

  8. Lee   March 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    @ #7 Grunt

    I don’t live in reality? Right; got it. So what you are saying is that . . . you are not real, too. Hey, I REALLY believe that one, Grunt, I really do!

    Oh btw, the two greatest and most famous empires — ancient Greece and Rome — were SOLELY based and founded, one could argue (I certainly would), on the VERY concept of heroism. They both collapsed. Are you sure, really, really sure, that the concept of heroism is all that good?

    I live . . . and have learned from reality.

  9. Grunt   March 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Lee- you live the life you do BECAUSE of hero’s not in spite of them.

  10. Pink   March 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    @Lee: you say "ancient Greece and Rome were solely based on heroism" …. well Lee you prove, once again, that you have no concept at all of history. Never even read one book did you?

  11. Actual   March 12, 2014 at 4:23 am

    @ Lee- Well if you really want to know the price of a human life:
    Officer (flying)-1.3 Mil
    Other Officers-$850K
    Enlisted Personnel-$500k to $270K
    Civilian DoD-$460K
    Program Youth and/or Student Assistance Employees and Foreign Nationals- $270K

    I am currently in Afghanistan (USMC) and saw these postings by you, Lee. And personally, if you want to live in a world where no one dies for their country or freedoms, take some valium, codiene, alcohol, or any other barbituate you can lay your welfare hands on, place them in a blender, add vodka, stir well and drink it down. That’s the only way you will see your own vision of what the world should be.

    Semper Fi Grunt and Pink.

  12. Actual   March 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Almost forgot. These troops sign on the dotted line of their OWN FREE WILL to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. It’s called a training mishap. It happens. No one wants to send personnel in to die, or intends for them to die, but, it happens.
    Take a look at OSHA regulations. Those are written in blood. Someone died or were seriously hurt for these laws to come into effect. And that did not happen until 1970. So when and IF you go to work, things that you do and your supervisors ensure you are trained to do, will help to save YOUR life.
    Marines have been doing this since 1775. Protecting the weak and defenseless. Going towards the sound of chaos. Not hiding behind it.
    Good Day Sir.


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