Marines killed in training accident identified - WNCN: News, Weather

Marines killed in training accident identified

Posted: Updated:
Left: Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor; Right: Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II Left: Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor; Right: Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II
Left: Private First Class Joshua M. Martino; Right: Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr. Left: Private First Class Joshua M. Martino; Right: Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr.
Left: Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork; Right: Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV Left: Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork; Right: Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV
Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda

A mortar shell explosion Monday at an Army depot in Hawthorne, Nev., killed seven Marines and injured eight other servicemen. Here are profiles of the victims:
    
AARON RIPPERDA, 26
    
Ripperda was a football player while he attended high school in Highland, Ill., near St. Louis. He was respectful and hardworking, according to Highland High School Assistant Principal Karen Gauen, and "definitely had the discipline for the military."
    
Ripperda had dreams of becoming a professional chef. His aunt, Beverly Lesicko, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he joined the Marines for a chance to explore the world. He was scheduled to come home in May.
    
JOSH TAYLOR, 21
    
Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor, who worked with mortars and served tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait, had dreamed being in the Corps since watching the History Channel as a boy. He joined right after graduating from a high school in Marietta, Ohio, in 2010.
    
Taylor's grandfather, Larry Stephens, said Taylor was engaged to be married, with a wedding planned for May.
    
His fiancee's father called him an exceptional person.
    
"You don't meet many young men like him today," Keith Malone told The Marietta Times. "He was respectful to everyone, very humble, just happy, happy all the time."
    
Taylor is also survived by three sisters and a brother.
    
ROGER MUCHNICK, 23
    
Muchnick, who'd been in the Marines for about three years, had served in Afghanistan and was considering returning to college after his enlistment was up. He played high school lacrosse and football in Westport, Conn., and later played lacrosse at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he studied business.
    
In a biography on the university's website, Muchnick said the one thing he would like to do before he died was "live," and his most embarrassing moment was getting caught lip-synching in a school talent show.
    
"He was at the top of his game when this happened," said his grandfather, Jerome Muchnick. "You can't imagine losing a very handsome, 23-year-old grandson who was vital and loving."
    
JOSH MARTINO, 19
    
Pfc. Martino, who hailed from Dubois, Pa., and was preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan, aspired to be a Marine since boyhood.
    
"Since he was probably 8 years old he wanted to be a Marine," said his mother, Karen Perry. "That's all he wanted to do."
    
Martino was a talkative former high school athlete and accomplished hunter who hoped to marry his fiancee later this year, Perry said.
    
His mother said she first heard a radio news report about the Monday accident, then three Marines arrived at her workplace to say her son was among the seven dead.
    
WILLIAM TAYLOR WILD IV, 21
    
Lance Cpl. Wild joined the Marines shortly after graduating in 2010 from Severna Park High School near Annapolis, Md. His mother, Elizabeth Wild, said he was in a weapons platoon that was scheduled to deploy in November to Afghanistan. He already had been deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Kuwait.
    
Wild said her son always wanted to go into the military, like his father, who is a command chief in the Air Force Reserve at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
    
DAVID FENN II, 20
    
Lance Cpl. Fenn, who was from Polk City, Fla., enlisted with the Marine Corps in June 2010. He was promoted to his current rank nine months later. Fenn, who served as a mortarman, received numerous accolades including a Combat Action Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal. He was last deployed in 2011 to Afghanistan.
    
MASON VANDERWORK, 21
    
Lance Cpl. Vanderwork already had served a tour in Afghanistan and loved being a Marine. His wife, 19-year-old Taylor Vanderwork, said they married the day after she graduated from high school and hoped to start a family. He loved driving his Mustang convertible and going to the beach.
    
He had a tattoo emblazoned on his chest, she said, that read, "Sacrifice. Without fear there is no courage."

----------

The explosion Monday caused an immediate suspension of the use of 60 mm mortars by the Marine Corps, with an exemption for troops in Afghanistan, U.S. military and Marine officials said. Marine units on the warfront may continue to use the mortars with the review and approval of their commanders. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan said they have not stopped using the mortars there.
    
The suspension, which will be in effect until the accident investigation is complete, largely affects units that are training, although those Marines could use the larger and more powerful 81 mm mortar systems if needed.
    
At Camp Lejeune, an 170-square-mile base and home to about 50,000 uniformed troops, counselors at the Naval Hospital were gearing up to offer help as the ripples from Monday's tragedy began reaching family and friends, barracks mates and survivors, said Dr. Sawsan Ghurani, director of mental health programs at the hospital.
    
"It's so unexpected that it's more of a shock than if you'd been mentally prepared" for battlefield casualties, said Ghurani, a psychiatrist and Navy captain. "You hope people don't die in war, but it is a common occurrence and whereas, in training exercises, it's very rare."
    
The ages of the victims make it even worse, Ghurani said.
    
"For me, it's especially tragic when they are so young and still have so much left to give in life and to experience in life that it just seems unfair," she said. But, she added, "The nature of the military culture is to be selfless."

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:28 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:28:10 GMT
    Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
  • DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:40:30 GMT
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.