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Old 10-26-2003, 07:53 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Marine charged in ship explosion

Marine charged in ship explosion
October 25,2003

A power plant mechanic with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29 has been charged in connection with a May 7 explosion that injured 11 Marines on the USS Saipan who were headed home after the war in Iraq, officials at New River Air Station said Friday.

According to a release from the air station, Sgt. Mark S. Hoerber brought an unexploded submunition round aboard the amphibious assault ship that caused a blast in a trash can, piercing a bulkhead and injuring sleeping Marines in a berthing area.

Hoerber was charged Sept. 16 with failure to obey a lawful general order by wrongfully acquiring the submunition, damage and destruction to U.S. military property aboard the ship through neglect, and negligently causing a hazard to the ship by failing to properly dispose of the ordnance. He is also charged with assaulting 10 injured Marines by causing them bodily harm in the explosion, negligent discharge of a submunition, recklessly endangering the lives of 19 Marines by bringing the explosive aboard a helicopter and recklessly endangering all aboard the ship, a prepared New River Air Station release said.

At the time of the explosion, one of the Marines had a serious arm injury and was evacuated to a military hospital in Kuwait. He was later evacuated to Landstuhl Hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The other 10 Marines sustained minor injuries to the legs, back, elbow or shoulder and were treated by Navy medical personnel on the ship.

Initial findings of an investigation identified the explosive as a U.S. M-42 howitzer fragmentation round submunition. Officials said that the explosive should not be confused with cluster bombs, which distribute mines over a large area, because these grenadelike rounds normally explode when they hit the ground.

USS Saipan is one of seven amphibious assault ships that departed the East Coast in mid-January carrying the 7,000-member 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and returned home to camp Lejeune in June.

According to a release from New River Air Station, the incident is still under investigation and there is an article 32 hearing planned for Nov. 13-14 to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to court-martial.

Contact Eric Steinkopff at estein or 353-1171, Ext. 236.


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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