The details of how a 20-year-old Marine died during a training accident back in March were recently released by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, reports the Marine Corps Times.
Private First Class Casey James Holmes, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from Marine Corps Base Hawaii was asleep in a shallow, hand-dug foxhole, when a bulldozer crushed him at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.
After filing three Freedom of Information Act requests, the Chico Enterprise Record recently obtained the 128-page Naval Criminal Investigative Service report.
According to the report, the foxholes were overtaken by a unit of amphibious assault vehicles that were taking part in the same exercise.
“As we relaxed in our holes, Holmes commented about how many stars were visible out there and how he missed the California sunsets and how I needed to visit his home in Chico, Calif. and meet his family and friends,” a Marine said in a statement included in the report.
“I remember asking Holmes something but don’t remember what and noticed he was already asleep. Next thing I know, I woke up to bright lights and dust in the air,” the Marine said in the statement.
The lead bulldozer came to a stop on top of Holmes, who was inside a sleeping bag in his foxhole. The driver of the dozer told the NCIS, he “stopped the medium crawler tractor (MCT) and opened the door of the driver’s compartment and a Marine screamed at me to drive the MCT forward about five to seven feet.” After moving the dozer, the driver shut it down, “It looked as if I had driven the MCT over someone. I heard several voices yelling for a corpsman to give aid to the person to the rear of the MCT.”
According to the NCIS report, an unidentified battalion surgeon was some distance away at the aid station when word of the emergency was radioed in. After multiple CPR attempts, he used a stethoscope to check for a beating heart. Marine Pfc. Casey Holmes was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m. on March 11th.
Holmes was scheduled for deployment to Southeast Asia after his course at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.
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