Marine Recruit, 18, Dead After Collapsing During Training Exercise at Camp Pendleton


A Marine recruit is dead after suffering a medical emergency during the branch’s basic training.

Pfc. Javier F. Pong “became unconscious and unresponsive” during the Sept. 27 training at Camp Pendleton, according to a Marine Corps statement obtained by the Associated Press on Saturday.

The recruit was “conducting scheduled training” at the time.

The New Mexico native later died at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

A cause of death has not been disclosed.

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The commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is pledging an investigation into the recruit’s death.

“We are greatly saddened by the untimely passing of Pfc. Javier Pong as he pursued his journey to become a United States Marine,” Brig. Gen. Jason Morris said of the training casualty, according to AP.

“We are committed to honoring his memory, supporting those with whom he served, and investigating the cause of his death to ensure we can safely transform civilians into Marines and retain the trust of the American people.”

Capt. Joshua Collins indicated to the Los Angeles Times that Pong’s basic training company was in the eighth week of the training program.

Collins revealed that the service had waited 11 days to publicly announce the recruit’s death with the intention of fully notifying Pong’s friends and family.

The delay was “out of a desire to provide the family with time to grieve,” Collins indicated to the Los Angeles Times.

Marine Corps recruit training is considered the most arduous basic training within the United States Armed Forces.

The service’s initial training takes place at one of two recruit depots in San Diego or Parris Island, South Carolina.

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Recruits that train on the West Coast conduct part of their training at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

The service has considered closing both recruit depots with the idea of opening a single, co-ed basic training facility, according to Task and Purpose.

A funeral home obituary for Pong identified the youth as a devout Christian who strongly held the goal of becoming a Marine.

“Javier was a faithful Christian who attended church every Sunday and Wednesday and was involved in church activities,” the 18-year-old’s obituary read.

Deaths in Marine Corps recruit training are not unprecedented.

A recruit died while undergoing the culminating “Crucible” training exercise last year at MCRD Parris Island, according to

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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