3 Marines Found Dead in Car Outside Camp Lejeune Identified

Holcomb Gate on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
A welcome sign stands outside of Holcomb Gate on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jan. 8, 2008. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The Marine Corps has identified three lance corporals from Camp Lejeune who were found dead early Sunday morning in a vehicle outside of the North Carolina military base.

The Pender County Sheriff's Office said in a press release posted to Facebook that the three men were found unresponsive in "a vehicle located at the Speedway convenience store in Hampstead, North Carolina."

The three Marines were identified by their unit, the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, in a press release Tuesday. The deceased, according to the Marine Corps, were:

  • Lance Cpl. Tanner J. Kaltenberg, 19, from Madison, Wisconsin. He entered active-duty service in May 2021.
  • Lance Cpl. Merax C. Dockery, 23, from Pottawatomie, Oklahoma. Dockery entered active-duty service in June 2020.
  • Lance Cpl. Ivan R. Garcia, 23, from Naples, Florida. He entered active-duty service in July 2019.

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All three of the Marines were motor vehicle operators with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, according to the release.

The Pender County Sheriff's Office was responding to a report of a missing person, the agency said in a press release on Facebook. That individual was found dead on the scene.

"During the course of this investigation, the deceased persons were located," the sheriff's office said in the press release. "This is an ongoing investigation. There does not appear to have ever been any threat to members of the community."

A cause of death for the three Marines was not immediately identified by either the Marine Corps or the sheriff's office news release.

"My deepest sympathy and condolences are extended to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lance Cpl. Kaltenberg, Lance Cpl. Dockery and Lance Cpl. Garcia," Brig. Gen. Michael McWilliams, commanding general of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, said in a statement. "Our focus is providing the necessary resources and support to those impacted by their tragic loss as they navigate this extremely difficult time."

The news of the deaths comes one month after another tragedy in which four people, three of whom were Marines from Camp Pendleton, died in a fiery car crash on a California highway, according to the Los Angeles Times.

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at thomas.novelly@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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