The US Marine killed during a training event at Camp Pendleton has been identified as Lance Corporal Joseph D. Whaley.
Whaley, a native of Maury County, Tennessee, died Thursday during a nighttime fire drill. He is in week four of the 13-week Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC), the Marine Corps said in a statement.
Major Joshua J. Pena said BRC is the entry-level course for Marine Corps Reconnaissance. Whaley’s intended job was 0300 infantry student.
His previous training included the infantry-naval course at the School of Infantry – West and recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, the Corps said. His awards include the National Defense Medal.
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“An investigation into the matter is ongoing and the command is cooperating fully,” the statement said. “We offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones as we continue to work with them at this difficult time. No further information is available pending the completion of the investigation.”
Whaley graduated from Columbia Central High School in Columbia, Tennessee, in May 2022, according to a Facebook post from a page that provides updates on Maury County.
The Marine Corps announced the death Friday but did not identify the Marine due to notifying next of kin.
An accident relief representative was dispatched to meet the family of the deceased to provide advice and support and to update family members on the development of the investigation.
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The School of Infantry-West is one of two schools that train entry-level Marines for combat readiness. The other is the School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina.
“At SOI, newly qualified Marines continue their training to better learn the fundamentals of the gunnery profession,” according to the Marine Corps website. “Marines with an Infantry Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) are trained with the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), while all non-infantry Marines are trained with the Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT).”
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“The School of Infantry-West trains riflemen and infantrymen in MOS skills throughout the infantry training continuum and manufactures combat instructors who train Marines here and throughout their careers to dominate and control any battlefield,” the Training Command website.
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The Marine’s death comes three years after the deaths of eight Marines and one Sailor training accident with an amphibious assault vehicle at Camp Pendleton. According to military reports, the landing craft took on water and sank in 385 feet of water while returning to a Navy vessel after completing the routine exercise on July 30.
The bodies of the nine soldiers were later found underwater during salvage operations.
Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report.