Marine Killed During Operation at Camp Pendleton, Marking Second Training Death for Service in a Week

 Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton
U.S. Marines with Marine Light Attack Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing seen on Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, March 31, 2020. (Jaime Reyes/U.S. Marine Corps)

A Marine died during a "routine military operation" at Camp Pendleton, California, on Tuesday evening, marking the Marine Corps' second death in less than a week, according to a press release from the service.

The service member, who belonged to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, or HMLAT 303, was not named in the statement. A Camp Lejeune Marine died last week during a parachuting mishap in North Carolina.

"The incident is under investigation," according to a statement released Wednesday. "The identity of the deceased Marine will not be released until at least 24 hours after next-of-kin notification is complete."

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The Marine died at approximately 5 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to the statement. The service did not say how the Marine died or under what circumstances. It is unclear what operation the unit was conducting at the time of the incident.

HMLAT 303 is part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, also known as 3rd MAW, out of Camp Pendleton. The squadron, which has been in service since 1982, trains pilots on the UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z/W Viper, a utility helicopter and attack helicopter, respectively.

The Camp Pendleton Marine is the second to die in a garrison training environment in less than a week. On April 18, Sgt. Colin Arslanbas, a reconnaissance Marine with the 24th MEU out of Camp Lejeune, was killed in a parachute incident near the state's coast.

Also, five Marines out of 3rd MAW were killed when their CH-53E Super Stallion went down in Southern California in February. Those Marines were flying out of Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, en route to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, when the aircraft was reported overdue. They were identified days later, confirmed to have died as a result of the crash.

Last year, another Marine was killed at Camp Pendleton's School of Infantry-West during the program's Basic Reconnaissance Course. Lance Cpl. Joseph Whaley died due to a negligent discharge, according to a Naval Safety Command report last September.

In March, reported that two commanders in that school -- one being the leader of SOI-W itself -- were relieved for "lack of trust and confidence" that month. The service did not provide details about the firings, and it is unclear whether they were related to the training death.

Related: Parachute Mishap Cited as Cause of Death for Camp Lejeune Marine Who Was Training in North Carolina

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