Marine killed in live-fire training accident at Camp Pendleton identified

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The U.S. 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 during a nighttime live-fire training exercise on Thursday. He was in his fourth week 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 designated occupation was 0300 Infantry Student. 

His previous training included the Infantry Marine 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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Joseph Whaley selfie

The U.S. Marine Corps identified Lance Corporal Joseph Whaley as the Marine who was killed Thursday during a live-fire training event.  (Joseph Whaley/Facebook)

“An investigation remains ongoing into the matter and the command is in full cooperation,” the statement reads. “The family and loved ones have our deepest condolences as we continue to work with them during this difficult time. There is no additional information available, pending the conclusion 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 Maury County updates. 

The Marine Corps announced the death on Friday but did not identify the Marine because of next-of-kin notification. 

A casualty assistance representative was sent to meet with the family of the deceased to provide counseling and care and keep loved ones apprised of developments in the investigation. 

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Lance Corporal Joseph Whaley

Whaley graduated from Columbia Central HIgh School in Columbia, Tennessee, in May 2022. His previous training included the Infantry Marine 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.  (Joseph Whaley/Facebook)

School of Infantry-West is one of two schools where entry-level Marines are trained to be combat-ready. The other is School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. 

“At SOI, recently graduated enlisted Marines continue their education and training to become more proficient in the fundamentals of being a rifleman,” the Marine Corps website states. “Marines with a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of infantry are trained at the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), while all non-infantry Marines are trained at the Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT).”

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Camp Pendleton

The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

“School of Infantry-West trains Riflemen and Infantrymen in MOS skills across the infantry training continuum and produces Combat Instructors who train Marines here and throughout their careers to dominate and control any battlespace,” according to the Training Command website. 

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The Marine’s death comes three years after eight marines and a sailor were killed in a training accident involving an amphibious assault vehicle at Camp Pendleton. The landing craft took on water and sank in 385 feet of water as it headed back to a Navy ship after completing routine training on July 30, according to military reports.

The bodies of the nine service members were later found during underwater salvage operations. 

Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report. 



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