Seven U.S. Marines were killed late last night and at least 7 wounded during a live-fire training exercise at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. KRNV News in Reno, NV has reported that the explosion took place late last night around 10 p.m. on March 18.
The injured troops were taken to two local hospitals. Two of the victims were reportedly in serious condition, while the other five were in fair condition.
The 7 marines that were killed and the 7 which were wounded are based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Officials from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune released a statement saying that the cause of the explosion is under investigation, but Raw Story is reporting that a 60-millimeter mortar exploded in a tube while Marines were preparing to fire it.
"We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident. We remain focused on ensuring that they are supported through this difficult time," said the force's commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox. "We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice."
Hawthorne Army Depot is a 147,000-acre facility which stores decommissioned equipment and ammunition. It also serves as a training area for Special Operations forces before they are deployed to the Middle East.
The identities of those killed were not released pending notification of their families and a 24-hour waiting period after that.
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