Several pounds of explosives missing during Marine training exercise at Twentynine Palms, investigators say
By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 5, 2021
WASHINGTON — Military investigators said Friday that they are searching for several pounds of explosives that went missing during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.
About 10 pounds of C4 plastic explosive disappeared two weeks ago during a training exercise, according to a report Thursday by ABC10 News in San Diego. The television station also reported the explosives might have been stolen.
About 3,500 Marines and sailors from the 2nd Marine Division from Camp Lejeune, N.C., the 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and other units from Hawaii and North Carolina are involved in the Integrated Training Exercise 2-21 at Twentynine Palms.
C4 is a powerful, pliable explosive that is suitable for cutting and breaching. It usually comes in thin, 1 ¼-pound blocks or packed in white plastic containers.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading the investigation, spokesman Jeff Houston said Friday.
A monetary reward is also being offered for information that helps find the explosives, ABC10 News reported.
Houston and a spokesman from the North Carolina-based 2nd Marine Division declined to provide further details while the investigation is ongoing.
A base advisory issued last month said the training exercise was slated to begin on Jan. 15 and run through Feb. 18. ABC10 News reported the exercise could be extended until the explosives are found.
1st Lt. Dan Linfante, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division, declined to say whether the Marines would have to stay longer at Twentynine Palms, citing operational security concerns of discussing future troop movement.
Twentynine Palms and other units in California and Hawaii did not immediately respond to inquiries.
The base, located about 150 miles from Los Angeles, is the Marine Corps’ premier training facility and the largest Marine base in the world at 932 square miles. More than 11,000 Marines and sailors are stationed at the combat center, according to the base website.
Stars and Stripes staff writer Chad Garland contributed to this story.