Marines: Human error to blame for deadly accident
Posted May 29, 2013
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A military investigation has determined human error was to blame for a March mortar explosion that killed seven U.S. Marines in Nevada.
First Lt. Oliver David, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, said in a press release Wednesday that a Marine operating a 60-mm mortar tube and ammunition "did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high explosive round at the mortar position."
The Marines did not release a copy of the investigative report and declined to provide any further details about the nature of the deadly mistake. Officials also would not say whether changes to training procedures were enacted as a result of the review, but they noted that the investigation determined that the mortar section hadn't conducted appropriate training before the live-fire event..
Marine officials announced earlier this month that two officers and a non-commissioned officer were removed from command following the March 18 accident at Hawthorne Army Depot. Seven Marines and a sailor, all members of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, were also wounded.
No Marines or sailors have been charged with a crime or violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and no charges are anticipated, officials said.
The investigation also determined that the mortar system functioned properly at Hawthorne and found no reason to question the safety of the system when it is employed as designed and as Marines are trained to employ it.