1 Marine Dead, 14 Injured After Amphibious Combat Vehicle Rollover During Training at Camp Pendleton

Amphibious Combat Vehicle at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
U.S. Marine Corps students with the Assault Amphibious school, drive an Amphibious Combat Vehicle during a basic land driving course at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Nov. 29, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mary Jenni)

One Marine was killed and another 14 were injured in a vehicle rollover incident Monday at Camp Pendleton, California, according to the Marine Corps.

The Marines were in an amphibious combat vehicle, or ACV, that rolled over during ground movement in a training exercise, the service said in a release Wednesday. They were assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The name of the Marine killed is being withheld until next of kin are notified, a common practice among the service branches. The Marine Corps did not release the names of the service members who were injured or their conditions. They were taken to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and local hospitals for treatment.

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It's unclear what led to the incident, but rollovers are among the major concerns during training events in the military, being one of the top causes of fatalities for on-duty troops. A government investigation in 2021 found that more than 120 soldiers and Marines had died since 2011 in non-combat tactical vehicle accidents.

That report from the Government Accountability Office found poor training and little to no safety oversight from military leadership.

Officials have pointed to a variety of potential contributing issues in recent years, including commanders not scheduling enough rest time during training schedules and putting sleep-deprived troops behind the wheel.

Also, training to drive combat vehicles has sometimes been ad hoc, with qualifications being rushed to allow troops to drive. Young Americans are also less interested in driving compared to other generations and less likely to have licenses.

The ACV has had a troubled history since being quickly pushed into service in 2020 to replace the aging amphibious assault vehicle, or AAV, which had been in use since the 1970s. Those old vehicles were retired after a 2020 mishap in which an AAV sank off the southern California coast, killing eight Marines and a Navy corpsman.

In January, the Marine Corps fired the commander of its Assault Amphibian School after an ACV rolled over in the surf in the waters off Camp Pendleton. That ACV had three Marines on board, none of whom was injured.

The training incident follows an Army incident in October in which two soldiers with the 11th Airborne Division were killed and 12 were injured after their Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, or LMTV, rolled over in Alaska.

Related: Soldiers Keep Dying in Vehicle Accidents. The Army Blames Not Wearing Seat Belts and Complacency.

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