Tragedy Strikes the Marine Corps Again (Updated)
The commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico held a press conference this morning.
The following is the transcript:
Col. David W. Maxwell, MCB Quantico base commander:
“Good morning. It has been a long night as we have begun to deal with the tremendous loss which we have suffered last night. On behalf of Marine Corps Base Quantico and Officer Candidates School I want to express my sincere condolences to the families, friends and fellow Marines of the three Marines we lost last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
This is a tragic loss for our Marine Corps family.
“Thursday evening’s fatal shooting was confined to Taylor Hall, a single barracks at Officer Candidates School. The quick reaction of our Provost Marshal’s Office and Prince William County police enabled us to assess the extent of the situation and to act quickly to resolve it.
“The shooter, an active duty male Marine, was pronounced dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound by law enforcement at the scene. Two other victims, a male and female, both active duty Marines, were pronounced dead at the scene. The three Marines involved in this incident were all permanent personnel assigned to Officer Candidates School. All Candidates are safe and have been accounted for. Additionally, all other OCS personnel are accounted for as well. The identities of the victims will be withheld for 24 hours until after primary next of kin notification.
“At 10:30 p.m. a 9-1-1 call was received by the Provost Marshal’s Office. Within five minutes of notification, authorities were on the scene. Authorities did not report hearing any shot or firing any shots. By 11 p.m. Quantico’s security had been heightened and mass notification via the giant voice mass notification system began to pass instruction to base residents and employees. The safety of our Marines, civilian Marines and families aboard Quantico is paramount. At 2:30 a.m. restrictions were lifted and the base returned to normal operations.
“We ask for your patience as we conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. I anticipate a lengthy investigation and I do not anticipate being able to provide any further details of this incident until after we have confirmed the next of kin notification.
“Our base and unit chaplains are currently providing counseling services to our Marines. The wellbeing of our Marines and families aboard Quantico is a priority. As we take care of our Marines and their families who are dealing with this tragedy, I would ask the support of our neighbors, and their thoughts and prayers as well for our Marines and families aboard Quantico.
“Thank you and Semper Fi.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that a U.S. Marine sergeant shot and killed a male corporal and female lance corporal, and then killed himself and that the investigation centers around a likely romantic entanglement.
After seven Marines were killed and eight other service members were wounded on Monday when a mortar exploded prematurely during a training exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, tragedy struck the Marine Corps again yesterday.
The American Forces Press Service (AFPS) reports that three active-duty Marines are dead after a shooting incident that began late last night, Thursday, at the Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
One of the dead was the shooter, who died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said. The names are being withheld pending n notification of the families.
The base provost marshal’s office responded to the incident at about 11 p.m., with assistance from the Prince William County police department. The base was locked down as part of the response, and normal operations resumed early this morning.
In a statement released this morning, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was saddened to learn of the shootings.
“This tragedy, as well as the tragedy in Nevada earlier this week, took the lives of Marines who volunteered to serve their nation,” Little said.
“His heart and his prayers are with them and their families. He believes that the legendary strength of the United States Marine Corps will ensure that they are forever remembered.”
Since its establishment in 1917, Quantico has been home to many of the nation’s most innovative, intelligent and patriotic men and women. It is here, at the Crossroads of the Marine Corps, that vital concepts, training and equipment of the future are developed. Some of the most important techniques in warfighting were born here, including expeditionary warfare, for which the Marine Corps is renown. History has proven the importance of Quantico to America’s defense. The sharp vision and intense dedication of the service members, civilians and family members who serve here continue to ensure the Marine Corps remains the world’s premier fighting force.
Train, evaluate, and screen officer candidates to ensure that they possess the moral, intellectual, and physical qualities for commissioning; and the leadership potential to serve successfully as company grade officers in the operating forces.
Image: U.S. Marine Corps