7 Marines Killed in Training Exercise Identified

ABC News

7 Marines Killed in Training Exercise Identified

Now watching

Next video starts in : 7 Play

7 Marines Killed in Training Exercise Identified

The seven Marines killed in a training exercise explosion in Nevada this week ranged in age from 19 to 26, most of them veterans of the war in Afghanistan, the military said in announcing their identities this evening.

"We send our prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines and sailors who have been killed and injured in this tragic accident," said Brig. Gen. Jim Lukeman, 2nd Marine Division commanding general, in the written announcement. "Our first priority is to provide them with the support they need during this very difficult time, and we're doing that right now."

The victims were identified as:

       Pfc. Joshua M. Martino, 19, of Clearfield, Pa.
       Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla.
       Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, of Fairfield, Conn.
       Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio
       Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C.
       Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, 21, of Anne Arundel, Md.
       Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, of Madison, Ill.

Five of the seven joined the Marines in June 2010, with Wild a Marine since October 2010 and Ripperda since September 2008.

Vanderwork's mother, Melissa, told ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV that she had a special bond with her son.

"He was truly my best friend. Not only my son but my best friend and my hero," Melissa Vanderwork said as she fought back tears. "He wanted to see the world," she added.

Chip Watts, Mason Vanderwork's high school football coach, called him a "team player" and a tough individual.

"Pure tenacity. Work ethic. Desire. Whatever the kid did, he did it 100 mph," Watts told WSOC.

VIDEO: 7 Marines Killed in Training Exercise Identified

Late Tuesday, the seven fallen Marines, all from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C., were honored at a memorial service in the small military town of Hawthorne, Nev.

Flags flew at half-staff as hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the Marines, who were killed when a powerful 60mm mortar exploded in a tube during a training exercise.

"For those guys to lose their lives the way they did, in a training exercise, it was horrible," Michael Aulet said Tuesday night at the vigil.

Many in Hawthorne said they heard the sirens and medical helicopters flying in to rescue the Marines. The explosion occurred at the Hawthorne Army Depot 140 miles southeast of Reno Monday when a mortar round exploded in a tube at 9:55 p.m. MT.

The Marines have issued a suspension on the use of all 60mm mortars and their associated tubes while they conduct a review of what caused a round to explode. The suspension will affect mortars used both in training and in deployed settings.

Eight others were also injured in the blast and transported Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for injuries that included trauma fractures and vascular injuries, hospital spokeswoman Stacy Kendall told ABC News Tuesday.

"I feel sorry for those families. We'll try to do as much as we can for them," Maria Lohand said, who works at the Army Depot and has children in the military.

Hawthorne has a population of approximately 3,000 people, with many personally connected to the military.

"This is Hawthorne. This is what Hawthorne's about. When something happens here we all band together," Michael Sours, a veteran, said at the vigil.

In addition to those killed, a Navy corpsman was considered very seriously injured, the military said in announcing the names of the dead Wednesday night. Five Marines were seriously injured and two Marines were treated for minor injuries and released.

It was not clear where the Marines were standing or what caused the blast, which Brig. Gen. Lukeman said was under investigation.

The Marines had been training at the Hawthorne Army Depot and the nearby Mountain Warfare Training Center for the past month, Lukeman said. The training was not in anticipation of an imminent deployment, he said.

The mountainous desert terrain of the 230-square-mile depot was used as a training location for special forces, since it "provides a realistic simulation of the situation in Afghanistan," according to the depot's website. The depot is also used as a storage site for ammunition awaiting demilitarization.

It takes several Marines to fire a 60mm mortar, and they must "work together to provide constant and accurate high-angle suppressive fire," according to the Marines' website.

The mortar the Marines were using is a "lightweight company mortar fired from a stationary position," Lukeman said.

ABC News' Michael S. James contributed to this report.

View Comments (31)

Recommended for You

  • US Veteran Says He is 'ISIS Soldier,' Calls Bin Laden 'Beautiful Man,' Officials Say

    The FBI has arrested a former member of the Army on weapons charges after he allegedly expressed sympathy for ISIS, called Osama bin Laden "a beautiful man" and said the murder of government agents was "a hundred percent obligation," according to court documents filed in a Washington state federal…

    Good Morning America30 mins ago
  • Giant Rabbit From Scotland Looking for a Home

    The Scottish SPCA center in Glasgow has a 7-month-old continental giant rabbit up for adoption. The rabbit, Atlas, is already about the size of a Westie dog and is still expected to grow, according to a Feb. 8 press release from the Scottish SPCA. Atlas is not only the same size as a dog, but…

    Good Morning America
  • Dad Tells Other Fathers, 'Respect the Mother of Your Child' in Viral Facebook Post

    A U.K. dad’s advice to fellow dads “respect the mother of your child” has gone viral after being posted in a Facebook tribute to the mother of his 9-month-old son.Tony Emms, of Cresswell Northumberland, in the U.K., posted on Facebook last month a photo of his fiancé, Charlotte Sperry, sleeping…

    Good Morning America
  • Duchess Kate Champions Mental Health in New PSA

    Duchess Kate is on a mission. The Duchess of Cambridge, 34, is speaking out in a new public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness for Children’s Mental Health week for her mental health charity, Place2Be. The Duchess recorded a special video message to coincide with Children’s Mental…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Kung Fu Panda 3' Stays on Top at the Box Office

    "Kung Fu Panda 3" scored another box office win during Super Bowl weekend.The animated sequel earned an estimated $21 million in its second weekend of release.'Kung Fu Panda 3' Tops the Box Office'The Revenant' Tops Weekend Box OfficeThe Coen brothers' "Hail, Caesar!" opened in second place,…

    Good Morning America
  • Peyton Manning Knows What He's Doing After Super Bowl Win

    Peyton Manning kept with tradition when it came to his Super Bowl celebration plans. The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers, 24-10. During a press conference after Sunday night's game, Manning said that he was "taking his kids to Disneyland" before he and his family…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Girls' Star Lena Dunham Taking Time Off for 'Chronic' Illness

    The acclaimed HBO show "Girls" is back for its final season next month, but its biggest star will not being making press appearances due to a "chronic condition."Lena Dunham took to Instagram today to write, "I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I…

    Good Morning America
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rocked by Hurricane-Force Winds Heads Back to New Jersey

    A Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds overnight is sailing back to port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The ship left from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday for a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas. The company posted a message on Twitter saying that all guests are…

    Good Morning America
  • White House Asks Congress for $1.8 Billion to Fight Zika Virus

    The Obama administration is requesting $1.8 billion in emergency funding from Congress to fight the Zika virus in the United States and abroad, the White House announced today. The request comes after lawmakers on Capitol Hill urged the White House to address the spread of the virus, which is…

    Good Morning America
  • Super Bowl 50: Beyonce Takes Fans Behind the Scenes of Her Performance

    Although Coldplay headlined the Super Bowl 50 halftime performance, all eyes were on Beyonce, who shared the stage with the British band along with pop star Bruno Mars.The singer, who announced her Formation World Tour right after the big game ended, is letting fans in on how her performance came…

    Good Morning America
  • Countdown to New Hampshire With 5 Things to Watch in Tuesday's Primary

    Tuesday will be a critical moment on the road to the White House as residents of the Granite State cast their votes in the first-in-the-nation primary. With independents making up more than 40 percent of the electorate, the New Hampshire primary can often surprise, and that may be the case…

    Good Morning America
  • Super Bowl 50: Peyton Manning 'Very Much at Peace'

    Peyton Manning says he’s “very much at peace” as he contemplates retirement from the NFL just hours after winning his second Super Bowl title. Manning, 39, finished 13 for 23 for 141 yards in the Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl game at California’s Levi’s…

    Good Morning America
  • Panda Cub Bei Bei Climbs a Tree With the Help of His Mom

    Bei Bei is moving up in the world.The Smithsonian National Zoo’s baby panda experienced the outdoors for the first time last week and now the nearly six-month-old cub is scaling trees—-with the help of his mom Mei Xiang, of course. The Washington DC based Zoo posted a video of the feat online this…

    Good Morning America
  • 4 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Scoring Beyonce Tour Tickets

    Minutes after Beyonce announced her 2016 Formation World Tour during Super Bowl 50, fans flooded to her website looking for more information about the tour, and temporarily crashed the site. Fans have also been tweeting in anticipation and excitement for the ticket sales to go live. Securing…

    Good Morning America
  • Paris Jackson Reveals Struggle With Alcoholism, Pressures of Fame

    Paris Jackson, the only daughter of music legend Michael Jackson, is apparently struggling with alcoholism.In a now-deleted, profanity-laced rant on Instagram, the 17-year-old told her followers that she was being attacked online."I am expected to literally sit … all day replying to comments people…

    Good Morning America
  • Russians Arrest 7 in Alleged ISIS-Related Terror Plot

    Russian security services have arrested seven people accused of plotting terror attacks on behalf of the Islamic State in major Russian cities, the country’s FSB intelligence agency said today. The arrests were made in the city of Ekaterinburg, located in the Urals region on the edge of Siberia,…

    Good Morning America
  • Chipotle Temporarily Closes Restaurants for Company-Wide Meeting

    Chipotle restaurants across the nation are temporarily closing today in an effort to educate 60,000 employees about the food-borne illnesses that have rocked the company in recent months. Food safety protocols will also be explained in the meeting. To make up for the closures, Chipotle is…

    Good Morning America