An investigation conducted by the U-S Navy and Marine Corps is blaming the COVID pandemic and inadequate training for the deaths of eight marines and one sailor in California in 2020.
The deaths of the nine U.S. service members occurred in July 2020 off the southern California coast during a training exercise when an amphibious assault tank sunk. Poor communication and human errors played a role in the accident Marine leaders have called “preventable.”
The lieutenant who conducted the Marine Corps investigation highlighted multiple factors rather than pointing to any one failure or decision that led to the deadly incident. Lieutenant General Carl Mundy said the COVID pandemic created a series of changing and often confusing precautions and restrictions. Mundy added the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit “did not receive forces that were optimally trained and equipped to the required standards.”
FILE – A U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) takes part in a landing operation during a military Exercise Baltops 2018, at the Baltic Sea near Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, June 4, 2018. A training accident off the coast of Southern California in an AAV similar to this one has taken the life of one Marine, injured two others and left eight missing Thursday, July 30, 2020. In a Friday morning tweet, the Marines say the accident happened Thursday and search and rescue efforts are underway with support from the Navy and Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File) October 7th 2021