Skip to comments.Marines killed in training were young, lives ahead
Posted on 03/20/2013 9:35:42 PM PDT by Rabin
They're called "leathernecks" or "Devil Dogs," but some of the Marines killed in a desert training accident this week were just a year or so out of high school.
The explosion (pin fail?) Monday caused an immediate (sorta) suspension of the use of 60 mm mortars by the Marine Corps, with an exemption (more sic) for troops in Afghanistan, The suspension, which will (sorta) be in effect until the accident investigation is complete...
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
Prayers for these young Marines.
What I can’t figure is how a 60mm mortar killed 8 and messed up 8.
That is the tiniest mortar there is.
The 60mm mortar has been used by infantry units in direct support of the troops for many, many decades.....it is a proven and valued crew served weapon.
Though the 60mm mortar is a smallish mortar projectile, mortar crews with attending ammo handlers are crowded around the tube when firing the weapon making the potential for accidents like this devastating. Besides the defective round burst, I wonder if there were secondary explosions from the ready rounds....
It was apparently a training situation using live fire, so many people could have been present, and in close quarters.
The devastation still seems high for such a light round.
Twenty plus years ago, my young son (currently in Afghanistan) was training with the 82nd at Ft. Bragg. I got an unexpected phone call, he was not the phoning type. He reported that while doing low flying off loading of C1A cargo planes (I think), two soldiers had been sucked out of the rear and pancaked fatally on the ground. He was being bravely matter-of-fact about it, but I know he was glad he could speak to me just then. I did not know that 20 years later I would still be worrying about him.
Nothing is certain, but I would imagine he has it pretty down pat by now.
Regards and best wishes.
RIP to these fine Americans and God Bless their families. Amen.
If you watch the HBO movie “Pacific” one of the people it follows is Eugene Sledge who fought throughout WWII as a 60mm mortar man. Plenty of scenes with his crew in action.....
Sledge wrote “With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa.”
I sleep better at night knowing men like him are standing the walls of Freedom!
I’m glad you have a son you can be proud of.
A lot of us, me included, are thankful for the rough men, ready to stand in harm’s way on our behalf.
That said - If he has over 20 years in, tell him to get while the gettin’s good. (I know he’s probably too dedicated to take such advice, but I had to say it anyway.)
Mortars are very effective weapons in combat. The little 60mm comes with a killing radius, that is killing not wounded, of 10 to 15 meters. If you are vertical, and one of those puppies goes off 30 to 45 ft away you can be in serious trouble. Made excellent boobie traps in Viet Nam.
For this to happen, the initiation of the explosive had to take place at one of two points along the center-line of the warhead; at the “fuze” end or 180 degrees out.
From the design of these munitions, I'm betting that somehow, the safe and arm (S&A) device was in-line and for reasons to be determined, the detonator in the explosive chain went off.
The detonator is about the diameter of a pipe cleaner and about 3/8” of an inch long. It can be set off electrically or by a physical mechanical pin strike.
Depending on the design of the explosive train, the detonator generates a shock wave that starts an initiator to explode, which increases the shock wave that sets off a booster (About the size of half the length of a C cell battery.) which sets off the warhead. The initiator is optional depending on the type of explosive and other factors.
All this happens in less than a millisecond or so.
As to why that many Marines were around. Since it was training, I would assume that several gun crews would have been in close proximity to learn and use the equipment.
The 60mm munition is one of the safest known systems. Since it's been a while, I don't know if it is Insensitive Munition (IM) compliant these days or not.
I was never around the 60mm mortar. It seems like there was a safety built in with our 4.2 mortars that the round had to travel a certain distance before it could go off. We had a short round in training ( went like 50 yards) and didn’t detonate. Does the 60mm have this?
Unfortunately, he still has a few years to 20 because he mustered out for a while and then went back in. At one point when he was having trouble finding a job he liked, I asked him about it. He said, “I like getting up at 6 am and running 5 miles.” “Well,” I said, “I can see why you have a problem.” Not long after that he reinlisted to specifically take on an assignment that his Reserve general wanted him to do.
A toast FRiend to NO unpleasant phone calls. Prayers Up, gleeaikin.
Was in that area within the last few months. Prayer Up for these Marines and each family member of each of our Best of the Best Serving. My heart aches ... my numbness invades each portion of my being when we lost any member of our Brave, Best of Best, Military Men, Women, and cry for our loss and the family’s loss.