(HAWTHORNE, Nev.) — Several hundred people showed up for a vigil Tuesday night in Nevada to remember the seven Marines who were killed on Monday during a training exercise.
The Marines, who were from the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., were conducting live fire maneuver training at the Hawthorne Army Depot 140 miles southeast of Reno, Nev., on Monday when Brig. Gen. Jim Lukeman said it appeared a mortar round exploded in a tube at 9:55 p.m. PT.
Eight others were wounded in the blast. The survivors are being treated at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for injuries that include trauma fractures and vascular injuries, hospital spokeswoman Stacy Kendall told ABC News.
Lukeman said the identities of the servicemembers would be made public 24 hours after all of the next of kin were notified.
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 is 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.
The Marines have issued a suspension on the use of all 60mm mortars and there 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.
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