A newly-released collection of photographs from the Marine Corps depicts the horrific aftermath of a March 18, 2013 explosion that claimed the lives of seven Camp Lejeune Marines who were conducting live-fire training in Hawthorne, Nev.
A previously released command investigation, obtained by Marine Corps Times, revealed that the source of the tragic accident was a mortar tube that was unintentionally double-loaded during night training.
Three Marine officers were dismissed in the wake of the tragedy.
New photographs, released to Marine Corps Times this week through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal the force of the blast and its chaotic aftermath. One image shows a shredded flak jacket, with bulletproof plates pockmarked by shrapnel. Another depicts a mortar fuze mangled from impact with another mortar’s tailfin assembly.
The photos corroborate investigators’ findings that a double-loaded tube was to blame. The investigation also found that insufficient training and “a perceived sense of urgency” during the training exercise may have led to the disaster. Questions about how the error happened remain. One thing is certain: the incident underscores the risks Marines take to serve–even in stateside training.