WESTPORT, Conn. -- Human error caused the mortar explosion that killed Roger Muchnick of Westport and six other Marines in a training exercise in March in Nevada, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
“The Marines employing one of the mortars did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high-explosive round at the mortar position,” officials said in a statement. The mortar round “exploded in the immediate vicinity of the mortar section’s firing position.”
Seven Marines from 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., were killed and eight others were injured when a 60mm mortar round exploded during the nighttime exercise March 18 at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev.
Muchnick, 23, grew up in Westport and graduated from Staples High School in 2008, where he played football and lacrosse. He had served tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
John Dodig, principal of Staples High School, fondly recalled Muchnick’s high school days.
“Roger was a great, charming, athletically talented young man. Everyone liked him,” Dodig said in March. “He was outgoing, vibrant, funny and the type of person who could walk into a room and fearlessly go talk to anyone.”
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