Marine Corps Identifies Lance Corporal Killed During Night Training in California

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A U.S. Marine provides security at the extraction point while conducting night-raid operations training on Camp Pendleton, Calif.
A U.S. Marine assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, provides security at the extraction point while conducting night-raid operations training on Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 26, 2013. (Cpl. Alejandro Pena/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The Marine Corps has identified the service member killed during a live-fire training event at Camp Pendleton, California, on Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Joseph D. Whaley, of Maury County, Tennessee, was roughly four weeks into a 13-week reconnaissance course when he was killed last week during a nighttime exercise at the Marine Corps School of Infantry-West, according to a service statement.

"The family and loved ones have our deepest condolences as we continue to work with them during this difficult time," Maj. Joshua Pena, a spokesperson for Marine Corps Training Command, said in an emailed statement.

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The Basic Reconnaissance Course, or BRC, is an entry-level school that trains Marines in amphibious reconnaissance. According to the Marine Corps' website, the course is three phases long and includes individual reconnaissance skills, team "open-ocean" amphibious training, and patrolling and communication.

Pena, the spokesperson, said Friday that Whaley's death is under investigation and that the command is cooperating with the efforts. He did not say during which specific event the Marine's death occurred, only that it happened during the night live-fire portion.

"There is no additional information available, pending the conclusion of the investigation," Pena said.

Whaley's family was notified of the Marine's death on Friday. Whaley's military occupational specialty at the time of his death was 0300, infantry student.

Prior to Whaley's arrival at BRC, he attended rifleman training at the School of Infantry's eastern course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He attended recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina. His awards include the National Defense Medal, which was awarded to service members during the Global War on Terror until last year.

Tributes for Whaley were expressed over social media in the days following his death.

"My deepest condolences are with the friends and family of Joseph Whaley," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said on Facebook, "a Marine from Columbia, Tennessee, who tragically passed while on base."

Gabe Howard, the commissioner for Whaley's district in Tennessee, wrote on social media: "I am saddened to hear of the loss of one of our own here in our community. Joseph Whaley was not only one of our own but a Marine brother. I ask OUR community to lift Lance Corporal Joseph Whaley and his family up in prayer tonight."

-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at drew.lawrence@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

Related: Marine Killed During Night Infantry School Exercise at Camp Pendleton

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