Marines killed in Camp Pendleton accident identified

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Base officials Thursday identified four Marine bomb removal technicians killed in an accident at Camp Pendleton.

The Marines were killed while clearing unexploded ordnance at the base Wednesday.

The two Californians killed were 28-year-old Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh of Long Beach, who had been a Marine since 2003, and 27-year-old Sgt. Miguel Ortiz of Vista, a Marine since 2006.

Also killed were 31-year-old Gunnery Sgt. J. Mullins of Bayou L'Ourse, La., an 11-year Marine Corps veteran, and 32-year-old Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers of Poplar Bluff, Mo., who has been in the Marine Corps for 13 years.

The Corps also said one Navy Hospital Corpsman and two Marines near the accident had minor injuries.

Base officials issued the following information Thursday evening:

"Four Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines were killed in an explosion at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday during range maintenance operations to dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the Zulu impact area aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

One Navy Hospital Corpsman and two Marines nearby were released after receiving medical treatment at the scene.

The names of the deceased Marines are:

Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach, Calif., 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.

Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins, 31, of Bayou L'Ourse, La., 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.

Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Vista, Calif., 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.

Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., 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.

The Zulu impact area is used for firing explosive munitions such as grenades, mortars, artillery and rockets and for dropping munitions from aircraft. While live-fire training was ongoing at the adjacent Whiskey impact area, there was no live-fire training being conducted Wednesday in the Zulu area."


"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 US military. Our focus now is on ensuring these families receive the help and support they need," said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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