The military is investigating the Sunday shooting of two troops during a live-fire exercise at the sprawling Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County.
Both of the Marines were taken to an area hospital. One has been released but the other remains in serious condition, officials said.
The troops were assigned to the “Thundering Third” — 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, a Twentynine Palms unit that falls under the command of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division.
“Military training is an inherently dangerous task and the 1st Marine Division takes every precaution to ensure the safety of our training,” said Lt. Samuel Banks, a spokesman for the division, in a statement emailed to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Our commitment is to ensure that our training is as safe as possible. The training we conduct ensures our readiness to respond to any task we are assigned.”
Citing federal medical privacy laws, Banks said in a telephone interview that he could not name the Marines but insisted they appear to have been shot while “conducting a maneuver under fire during the live-fire exercise when they sustained their injuries.”
Military records show that members of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines have been participating in Integrated Training Exercise 3-18. Called an “ITX” by the troops, the nearly month of training is designed to simulate combat conditions that might be encountered by a Marine Air Ground Task Force.
On Jan. 13, 2017, Lance Cpl. Austin Ruiz, 19, was killed and another Marine injured during a similar live-fire exercise at the Mojave Desert base.
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