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Epic Public Relations FAIL

Leave aside the journos who don't know and probably don't care that there is a difference between soldiers and Marines, and think we should get a life on the subject (the same way they feel about clip versus magazine).

But WTF was going through the mind of the "official" who provided *this* tidbit?

 Four Marines were killed instantly, while two others died while waiting for emergency helicopters to arrive, officials told NBC News. It wasn't immediately clear how the seventh soldier died.

That is sure to comfort the families as they try to cope with the news, and added to the story.  But it will leave the families with questions.  Questions that were going to get raised in time, regardless - but way to go giving them that punch in the gut to go with the notification.


Read the rest at the NY Daily News.


I would be very surprised to learn that Hawthorne Army Depot has a Med evac helicopter assigned, or any other flying machine.  It's just too small and isn't a major training area.  Who knows where the helicopter had to come from, it may not have even been a military helicoter.  Did Range Control have their ducks in order, and know how to get medical attention in the fastest way possible?

Some of these backwater installations are great for training because they don't impose too many rules and give you permission to fire with just a simple range fan sketch, so lot's of flexibility and no Oberbahnmeister breathing down your neck.  Not so good when things go wrong, however.
I'll be surprised if there isn't some requirement going forward on medivac planning for training with explosive ordnance in the future, no matter where the training takes place.

I doubt the 60mm mortar will remain banned in the future. I'd like to know exactly what happened and if it was caused by a design fault.
Figure there was three possible causes of this premature detonation.
    1. Obstruction in the tube.  Not due to fuze construction.
    2.  Mishandling of projectile  by crew.  Could have been dropped on hard surface somewhere     
          along the line.  Maybe?
    3.  Faulty manufacturing of fuze.  Hard to think of this but most likely of the three.

Any other ideas
 I had an airburst once on the recoil compensated version used on the PBRs. Scared the bejeasus out of the crew and as the boat GMG, I was told to fix it. Dumped all the ready service ammo over the side and pronounced it fixed. The clip on TV showed new looking cases and tubes for the round, we were using WWII leftovers so dated ammo may not have been a factor. I remember being told that if a round got dropped the borerider and setback safeties could be compromised and the shock of firing can set off the bursting charge in the tube with the expected bad results. The number of casualties suggests this happened in a confined space like the pit.
 Just when you thought things couldn't get much worse, the politicians arrive,  they'll straighten it out. Yeah, right, JSTFU!
Way back when, we could not live-fire the 105s without an ambulance on the range.
(Late '60s, early '70s)

 Same thing was true up into the 90's, on my watch.
Back in the mid 80s, when we did our annual small arms qual at Campbell, we had to have a meat wagon at the range. I don't think that was just a NG requirement either.
That's what happens (sometimes) when you let people like me play with mortars. I suspect #2, being of the "that looks about right" persuasion m'self.

Yah, a manufacturing defect is always possible. I hope that was not the case here,  as  shells  which  go  off in the bore  do  not exactly inspire confidence in the survivors and witnesses who  might have to do that again.