Skip to comments.7 Marines killed during explosion at Nevada's Hawthorne Army Depot
Posted on 03/19/2013 1:47:25 PM PDT by servo1969
An explosion at a military ammunition storage facility in Nevada during a Marine Corps training exercise killed seven U.S. Marines and wounded several others, military officials said.
The North Carolina-based Marines with the 2nd Marine Division were killed late Monday when a 60-millimeter mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot as they were preparing to fire it.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was not immediately clear whether the mortar exploded prematurely inside its firing tube or whether more than a single round exploded. The official was not authorized to speak about the accident.
The accident prompted the Marine Corps to immediately halt use of some mortar shells until an investigation can determine its safety, according to the Associated Press.
The Corps said in a statement that it suspended all use of high-explosive and illumination mortar rounds that were in the same manufacturing lots as the ones that were fired in Nevada. Other 60mm mortar rounds were still allowed to be used
The Marines were also considering a stop-usage order affecting the mortar tubes like the ones in the accident.
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im thinking fort hood
I suppose that is a possibility.
It hadn’t occurred to me.
That was my first thought, too.
I have fired the predecessor, the M2 60mm. It was replaced by this M224.
It is a very simple weapon, and not a whole lot that can go wrong.
Just pull the safety from the shell, place it into the top of the tube, let it go, and get yadamnself out of the way.
The shell hits the firing pin that sits the bottom of the tube, so off she goes.
Unless, that is, you have a misfire, in which case the standard procedure is that someone has to pick up the bottom of the tube while two other people get ready to very-very-carefully catch the round while the first person very-very-slowly tilts the tube up so that the misfired round can slide out into their waiting hands.
It is a scary situation that never gets any less scary no matter how many times you do it.
Tampering with a mortar shell so that it explodes prematurely seems like an extremely inefficient, u lnlikely method of carrying out a terrorist attack. Unless I see any evidence to the contrary, I’m inclined to believe this was a tragic accident.
This was Weapons Co. 1/9. I was in a Weapons platoon in FMF, just not an 0341. Rest in Peace, Marines.
Yup. Failure of separation between launch and payload charges. Should be and in fact is very rare with modern designs, but sadly “rare” does not mean “impossible.”
7 dead? How big is a mortar crew for a 60mm mortar? Seven seems kind of large, and all dead? With light Infantry, you have some people there to carry ammunition, but would they all be standing around the tube? Maybe. I don’t know.
What I really remember is the ammunition. The old ammunition was dirt cheap and we were given a lot of it. The new ammunition cost about 60-70% more and our training allotment went down by the same. I remember a manufacturing rep telling us that the dud rate for the old stuff was about 3-5% and the new ammunition was 1%. But here was the friction, if the old ammunition was bad- it was bad (you could throw a dud in the back of your pick-up truck and use it as a wheel chock). If new ammunition didn't work, you had to treat it with caution. My mortar chief asked the rep, to give us the old stuff, plus 5 rounds per hundred and call it even.
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