US. MARINES KILLED IN NEVADA
The seven Marines killed in a training exercise explosion in Nevada this week ranged in age from 19 to 26, most of them veterans of the war in Afghanistan, the military said in announcing their identities this evening.
"We send our prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines and sailors who have been killed and injured in this tragic accident," said Brig. Gen. Jim Lukeman, 2nd Marine Division commanding general, in the written announcement. "Our first priority is to provide them with the support they need during this very difficult time, and we're doing that right now."
The victims were identified as:
 Pfc. Joshua M. Martino, 19, of Clearfield, Pa.
 Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla.
 Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, of Fairfield, Conn.
 Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio
 Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C.
 Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, 21, of Anne Arundel, Md.
 Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, of Madison, Ill.


Five of the seven joined the Marines in June 2010, with Wild a Marine since October 2010 and Ripperda since September 2008.
Vanderwork's mother, Melissa, told ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV that she had a special bond with her son.
"He was truly my best friend. Not only my son but my best friend and my hero," Melissa Vanderwork said as she fought back tears. "He wanted to see the world," she added.
Chip Watts, Mason Vanderwork's high school football coach, called him a "team player" and a tough individual.
"Pure tenacity. Work ethic. Desire. Whatever the kid did, he did it 100 mph," Watts told WSOC.
VIDEO: 7 Marines Killed in Training Exercise Identified
Late Tuesday, the seven fallen Marines, all from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C., were honored at a memorial service in the small military town of Hawthorne, Nev.
Flags flew at half-staff as hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the Marines, who were killed when a powerful 60mm mortar exploded in a tube during a training exercise.
"For those guys to lose their lives the way they did, in a training exerciseit was horrible," Michael Aulet said Tuesday night at the vigil.
Many in Hawthorne said they heard the sirens and medical helicopters flying in to rescue the Marines. The explosion occurred at the Hawthorne Army Depot 140 miles southeast of Reno Monday when a mortar round exploded in a tube at 9:55 p.m. MT.
The Marines have issued a suspension on the use of all 60mm mortars and their associated tubes while they conduct a review of what caused a round to explode. The suspension will affect mortars used both in training and in deployed settings.
Eight others were also injured in the blast and transported Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for injuries that included trauma fractures and vascular injuries, hospital spokeswoman Stacy Kendall told ABC News Tuesday.
"I feel sorry for those families. We'll try to do as much as we can for them," Maria Lohand said, who works at the Army Depot and has children in the military.
Hawthorne has a population of approximately 3,000 people, with many personally connected to the military.
"This is Hawthorne. This is what Hawthorne's about. When something happens here we all band together," Michael Sours, a veteran, said at the vigil.
In addition to those killed, a Navy corpsman was considered very seriously injured, the military said in announcing the names of the dead Wednesday night. Five Marines were seriously injured and two Marines were treated for minor injuries and released.
It was not clear where the Marines were standing or what caused the blast, which Brig. Gen. Lukeman said was under investigation.
The Marines had been training at the Hawthorne Army Depot and the nearby Mountain Warfare Training Center for the past month, Lukeman said. The training was not in anticipation of an imminent deployment, he said.


The mountainous desert terrain of the 230-square-mile depot was used as a training location for special forces, since it "provides a realistic simulation of the situation in Afghanistan," according to the depot's website. The depot is also used as a storage site for ammunition awaiting demilitarization.
It takes several Marines to fire a 60mm mortar, and they must "work together to provide constant and accurate high-angle suppressive fire," according to the Marines' website.
The mortar the Marines were using is a "lightweight company mortar fired from a stationary position," Lukeman said.
ABC News' Michael S. James contributed to this report



Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, of Madison, Ill., was an anti-tank missleman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in September 2008 and was promoted to his current rank in April 2011. Ripperda's awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.


Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla., was a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in June 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in March 2011. Fenn's awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.
 




























Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio, was a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in June 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in August 2011. Taylor's awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.

Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C., was a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in June 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in August 2011. Vanderwork's awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.

Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23, of Fairfield, Conn., was a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in June 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in May 2011. Muchnick's awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.

Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, 21, of Anne Arundel, Md., was a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in October 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in December 2011. Wild's awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He was most recently deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2011.

Private First Class Joshua M. Martino, 19, of Clearfield, Pa., served as a mortarman assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He joined the Marine Corps in July 2012. Martino's awards include the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Marine Corps Prayer
 Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose in deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate of those committed to my leadership. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold. If I am inclined to doubt; steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Amen. .
GOD BLESS AND REST IN PEACE
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