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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Accident that Killed Westport Marine Was ‘Human Error’

The Marine Corps said today human error was the cause of a March mortar explosion that killed seven U.S. Marines in Nevada, including Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick, Jr., 23, of Westport.

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Roger Muchnick Jr.: 2008 Staples graduate. Contributed photo

A military investigation determined that a Marine operating a 60 mm mortar tube and ammunition “did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high explosive round at the mortar position,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The Marines declined to share any other details about the March 18 accident. There was no word on whether changes to training procedures were enacted as a result of the review.

Officials said in May that two officers and a non-commissioned officer were removed from command following the accident at Hawthorne Army Depot. Seven Marines and a sailor were also wounded in the accident.

The Marines said an investigation initiated by Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, the commanding general of the Camp Lejeune-based 2nd Marine Division, also determined that the mortar team involved in the accident had not conducted “appropriate preparatory training” leading up to the nighttime live-fire exercise.

The statement said no criminal charges are anticipated as a result of the investigation.

The investigation also determined that the 60 mm mortar functioned properly and that the weapon system is safe when used as designed by properly trained Marines.

The mortars are back in use after training on them was suspended following the accident, officials said.

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Posted 05/29/13 at 04:13 PM  Permalink



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