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Four EODs killed at Pendleton were veterans of multiple combat tours

Nov. 14, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Four explosive ordnance disposal Marines were killed Nov. 13 during range maintenance operations aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Four explosive ordnance disposal Marines were killed Nov. 13 during range maintenance operations aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. (Staff Sgt. Richard P. Tudor/Marine Corps)
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Four seasoned combat veterans, all decorated explosive ordnance disposal Marines with multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan under their belts, were killed at about 11 a.m. Wednesday while clearing a range of unexploded ordnance at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

A Navy hospital corpsman and two other Marines standing nearby were treated at the scene and released, according a Marine news release.

The Marines who died include:

Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach, Calif., an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

Marsh joined the Marine Corps in July 2003, and was promoted to his current rank in May 2009. He deployed twice to Iraq, in 2005 and 2008, and twice to Afghanistan, in 2010 and 2012 as a team leader. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins, 31, of Bayou L’Ourse, La., the explosive ordnance disposal staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

Mullins joined the Marine Corps in March 2002, and was promoted to his current rank in February 2013. He deployed twice to Afghanistan, in 2011 and 2012 as a team leader. His awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Vista, Calif., an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

Ortiz joined the Marine Corps in March 2006, and was promoted to his current rank in November 2009. He deployed to Iraq in 2007, to the Western Pacific in 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2012. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, Airfield Operations Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Camp Pendleton.

Summers joined the Marine Corps in July 2000, and was promoted to his current rank in October 2010. He deployed to Kuwait in 2003, Iraq in 2004 and three times to Afghanistan in 2009, 2011 and 2012 as a team leader. His awards include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines we lost yesterday,” said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, in a statement. “Explosive Ordnance Disposal is a small and tight-knit community, not just in the Marine Corps, but in the entire U.S. military. Our focus now is on ensuring these families receive the help and support they need.”

The deadly mishap occurred at the Zulu impact area, which 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 in the Zulu area Wednesday.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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