Lance Corporal Joseph D. Whaley has been identified as the American Marine who died at Camp Pendleton while participating in a training exercise.

Who is Joseph Whaley?

Whaley, a native of Maury County, Tennessee, passed away on Thursday night while participating in a live-fire training exercise. He was four weeks into the 13-week Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC), according to a statement from the Marine Corps.

BRC, according to Major Joshua J. Pena, is the foundational school for Marine Corps Reconnaissance. Whaley was registered as a 0300 Infantry Student.

The Infantry Marine Course at the School of Infantry – West and Recruit Training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego were among his past training opportunities, according to the Corps. Among his honours is the National Defence Medal.

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“An investigation remains ongoing into the matter and the command is in full cooperation,” the statement reads. “The family and loved ones have our deepest condolences as we continue to work with them during this difficult time. There is no additional information available, pending the conclusion of the investigation.”

According to a Facebook post from a page that offers updates for Maury County, Whaley graduated from Columbia Central High School in Columbia, Tennessee, in May 2022.

Due to notification of the Marine’s next of kin, the Marine Corps did not release the Marine’s name when they announced his death on Friday.

A casualty aid representative was dispatched to meet with the deceased’s family to offer support and counselling while keeping them informed of the investigation’s progress.

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School of Infantry-West is one of two schools where entry-level Marines are trained to be combat-ready. The other is School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. 

“At SOI, recently graduated enlisted Marines continue their education and training to become more proficient in the fundamentals of being a rifleman,” the Marine Corps website states. “Marines with a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of infantry are trained at the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), while all non-infantry Marines are trained at the Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT).”

The Marine’s passing comes three years after a training disaster involving an amphibious assault vehicle at Camp Pendleton claimed the lives of eight marines and a sailor. On July 30, after completing standard training, the landing craft began to take on water and sank in 385 feet of water, according to military authorities.

Later, during underwater salvage operations, the nine service members’ bodies were discovered.