Marine Corps identifies platoon commander killed in Camp Pendleton accident

First Lt. Hugh C. McDowell from Washington. The Marine Corps says the 24-year-old platoon commander died, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in a rollover accident during training in California.


By ERIKA I. RITCHIE | The Orange County Register | Published: May 10, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Tribune News Service)  — A Marine Corps platoon commander killed in a training accident on Thursday, May 9, at this seaside base has been identified.

First Lt. Hugh C. McDowell, 24, of Washington D.C., assigned to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, died from injuries sustained when his Light Armored Vehicle rolled over at about 9 a.m.

The accident occurred during routine training near the battalion’s headquarters at the base’s north end. The area, near the ocean, has a mix of hilly and flat terrain. The vehicle, which looks like a small tank on wheels, likely was traveling with others in a convoy when the incident occurred, officials said.

Marine Corps officials are investigating the cause of the accident, said 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh.

McDowell was commissioned as an officer on May 5, 2017. His awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

“We recognize that military operations are inherently dangerous and we take extreme precautions to ensure the safety and welfare of our Marines,” Edinburgh said. “This is a tragic accident and we are heartbroken at the loss of a member of our Marine Corps family. We will do all we can to comfort the family, friends and colleagues of Lt. McDowell.”

Six other Marines who also were injured in the accident were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla with non-life threatening injuries, Edinburgh said. Several have been released from the hospital.

Last month, Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion also was killed when his tactical vehicle, a Polaris MRZR, rolled over at Camp Pendleton. Two other Raiders were injured.

That accident occurred April 13 as the battalion was in the final weeks of pre-deployment training. Braica was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital where he died a day later. The accident remains under investigation.

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