October 20, 2016
Camp Pendleton Explosion Kills Marines In Artillery Impact Area

A Camp Pendleton explosion killed multiple Marines in the artillery impact area.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, there was controversy over a new Marines hat design some felt was too "girly" and resembled hats worn by the French military.

According to Marine Corps officials, the Camp Pendleton explosion occurred during range maintenance operations intended to dispose of unexploded ordnance in the Zulu Black impact area. Unfortunately, something went wrong and four Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines were killed in the blast.

Base officials said there was no live-fire training on the Zulu Black range at the time of the explosion, although there was training was in progress at an adjacent impact area. The Zulu Black impact area was used for firing grenades, mortars, artillery, rockets, and for dropping munitions from aircraft.

The four Marines killed are Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins, Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, and Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers. In addition, two other Marines and a Navy corpsman were injured and received medical treatment at the scene of the Camp Pendleton explosion.

These Marines had served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Kuwait, and other locations around the globe, earning medals and achievements for their distinctive service in the Marine Corps. The youngest, Ortiz, was age 27, while the oldest, Summers, was age 32, and is survived by his wife and two-year-old daughter.

Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard said that after the Camp Pendleton explosion the focus is now on the families of those lost:

"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 U.S. military. Our focus now is on ensuring these families receive the help and support they need."
The Camp Pendleton explosion was the deadliest incident since a mid-air collision between two helicopters in 2012, when seven Marines were killed. The exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation, according to Marines Corps officials.