18-year-old Marine recruit dies after falling during training

Marine PFC. Xavier Pong in undated photo

Baca’s Funeral Chapel Las Cruces (New Mexico)

San Diego — An 18-year-old Marine recruit died last month after falling during training at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, military officials said in a weekend statement.

Javier Pong “fainted and unresponsive” while “conducting scheduled training” on Sept. 27 at the base near San Diego, according to a statement from the Marine Corps on PFC Saturday. He died at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

General Jason Morris, commanding Brigadier Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, said the Marines were investigating Pong’s death.

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of PFC. Xavier Pong continues his journey to become a United States Marine,” Morris said in a statement. “We are committed to honoring his memory, supporting those and investigating the cause of his death to ensure we can safely convert civilians to Marines and maintain the confidence of the American people.” ”

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Pong was from Las Cruces, New Mexico and graduated high school in May.

Marines did not immediately respond to Union-Tribune’s questions about the type of training recruited at the time of the Pong collapse. Officials also did not explain why they waited 11 days to announce the death.

According to the newspaper, military training deaths while in service are routinely announced within about 24 hours.

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