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Marines Killed in Pendleton Explosion were Combat Vets from SoCal, Midwest, South

www.marines.mil
www.marines.mil
The four Marines killed in an explosion Wednesday at Camp Pendleton were all combat veterans and they had roots in Long Beach, Vista, Louisiana and Missouri, base officials said in a statement Thursday evening.

The four were described as Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines, and they died during range maintenance operations in the Zulu impact area of the north San Diego County base.

The deceased Marines were identified as:

Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach, Calif. Marsh was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. He joined the Marine Corps in July 2003, and was promoted to his current rank in May 2009. Marsh's awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He deployed twice to Iraq in 2005 and 2008 and twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012 as a team leader.

Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Vista, Calif. Ortiz was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. He joined the Marine Corps in March 2006, and was promoted to his current rank in November 2009. Ortiz's awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2007, to the Western Pacific in 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2012.

Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins, 31, of Bayou L'Ourse, La. Mullins was the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Staff Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton. He joined the Marine Corps in March 2002, and was promoted to his current rank in February 2013. Mullins' awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Combat Action Ribbon, three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He deployed twice to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 as a team leader.

Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo. Summers was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician assigned to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, Airfield Operations Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He joined the Marine Corps in July 2000, and was promoted to his current rank in October 2010. Summers' awards include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He deployed to Kuwait in 2003, Iraq in 2004 and three times to Afghanistan in 2009, 2011 and 2012 as a team leader.

Injured in the incident were one Navy Hospital Corpsman and two Marines nearby, who received medical treatment at the scene and were released.

"Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines we lost yesterday," said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. "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."

The Zulu impact area is used for firing explosive munitions such as grenades, mortars, artillery and rockets and for dropping munitions from aircraft, Camp Pendleton officials said.

Live-fire training was ongoing at the adjacent Whiskey impact area on Wednesday, but there was no live-fire training being conducted Wednesday in the Zulu area.

The cause of the accident was being investigated.

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