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Training Mishap: AAV Fire Injures 14 Marines, Sailor; Some in ‘Critical’ Condition

An Assault Amphibious Vehicles, with 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, departs Red Beach during the Marine Air- Ground Task Force demonstration for the 75th Anniversary on Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 14, 2017. US Marine Corps Photo

An amphibious assault vehicle caught fire during a training exercise Wednesday morning at Camp Pendleton, Calif., injuring 14 Marines and a sailor as Marine Corps officials began to investigate just what happened.

The injured Marines are assigned to two units – 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion – at the base, 1st Marine Division officials said in a statement. The Marines were in a training area near Camp San Mateo, in the base’s northern section, at the time of the incident.

As of Wednesday evening, three Marines remained in “critical” condition and another five were listed in “serious” condition at the University of California-San Diego’s regional burn center in San Diego, according to the statement issued by 1st Lt. Paul Gainey, the division public affairs officer.

Another two Marines were listed in “critical” condition and two others were being treated at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, Calif., officials said. In addition, one Marine taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla was listed in “stable” condition.

Two other Marines were taken to Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital for treatment of “minor injuries,” they added.

The Marines were injured when an AAV “caught fire in a land-based training accident” about 9:30 a.m. at the base, where 1/1, an infantry battalion, was “conducting a combat readiness evaluation as part of scheduled battalion training at the time,” officials said in the statement.

Officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident at this time,” they added. Details about incident, including the location and what caused the fire, were not available. Officials thanked first-responders and emergency personnel who quickly responded to the accident and added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their families affected by this incident.”

The Marine Corps’ AAV has been a primary sea-to-land transport vehicle since the 1970s. The service is planning to upgrade the tracked vehicles to improve its reliability and extend its survivability until its eventual replacement.

  • DaSaint

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to those Marines and their families.

    • Curtis Conway

      Amen. Its bad enough to get hurt when your being shot at, but a fire in an amphibious Track…

      • BlueSky47

        add to the fact, that regardless of their large size, those things are a tight sqeeze inside, so Marines would have a difficult time getting out quickly

        • Don Spears

          …and consider, too, these AVs are the means of getting from ship to the beach. I’ve seen these things struggle in high seas returning to the ship. Add that to the equation…….

        • Curtis Conway

          That IS one of the reasons the USMC is working on the replacement.

  • Ed L

    Beats sinking in one. At least the roof hatches are spring loaded. Rule one when bringing your boat alongside don’t tie off. At one op in the MED one of the AAV stop running. we came alongside with our Boat Group Commander Boat and started taking the Marines off. Our LCPL was crowd. At the same time the Cow Hand Heavy, started towing the AAV in toward the Beach. The AAV grounded out in about 5 feet. Close enough to the beach that the Beach Masters could haul it out of the water. Oh, we went along side a LCM and the Marines moved over to it.

  • I got a foil hat

    who had the apricots

  • I got a foil hat

    two rules,
    puke in your helmet and no apricots

    • Centaurus

      I have a foil hat too ! ? When did you get yeur orders to puke into it ? I’m puking now anyway. Gloooocrrch….!

      • I got a foil hat

        I went on a med-cruise with Golf 2/6 as an 0311, amphibious assault and vertical envelopment where my job, the helmet thing was a standing order, when we shot out the well deck in the amtrac the splash was hard on some guys, not using your helmet would plug up the bilge pumps

        • Centaurus

          You really have to look out with those bilge pumps

  • TheMissingLink

    AFFF systems still disabled in all the AAV’s? Who signed that waiver to operate?

  • Centaurus

    I live next door to C. Pendleton in Oceanside and there is a strange irony to see in the distance the Marines invade the west coast as nearby, surfers are shreddin’ surf as boys and girls give their lives to allow them surf. Weird…?