Two Marine officers have been relieved of command as the investigation into a fatal Camp Pendleton training exercise explosion unfolds.
During a Nov. 13 exercise, four Marines were killed most likely when a grenade round was “dropped, kicked or, bumped” in the demolition pit, according to a report released Thursday.
However, the exact cause cannot be determined because the only people who directly saw the incident were those killed.
Investigators believe the M430/A1 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose grenade round set off several other ordnances the Marines were gathering for disposal in the Zulu impact area.
Brig. Gen. John Bullard, commanding general of the Marine Corps Installations West, relieved the the officer and staff non-commissioned officer of command on March 4, citing loss of trust in their ability to prepare and assess the potential danger on the range.
Bullard also ordered a review and revision of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training policies on all Marine Corps Installations West ranges.
The Marines who died were all members of the EOD community at Camp Pendleton: Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, Gunnery Sgt. Gregory J. Mullins and Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers.
Three other service members nearby were injured in the explosion, but they survived.
According to a release, Bullard will recommend changes to risk assessment, mitigation and levels of approval. He also wanted additional safety training requirements for all EOD personnel beyond what is currently required and mandatory adherence to the range survey requirements.