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Kaneohe Marine killed, another hurt during training exercise in California


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POSTED: Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Kaneohe Marine was killed and another was injured when the truck they were riding in crashed near San Diego on Wednesday during a training exercise.

Pfc. Zachary D. Tenbrook, 21, died of injuries sustained when the flat-bed truck in which he was a passenger rolled over. Lance Cpl. Christopher D. Mullen, 24, was in stable condition at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif.

The two were among 1,300 Kaneohe-based Marines in California preparing for deployment to Afghanistan this fall.

The training accident, which is being investigated, occurred at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, according to the Marines.

Tenbrook, of Middlebury, Ind., died at Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital in Twentynine Palms. He was from 3rd Supply Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, in Okinawa but was assigned as an ammunition technician to Kaneohe-based Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Mullen, from Detroit, is a motor vehicle operator with the same company.

“;The guy (Tenbrook) was a heavy lifter, a hard worker,”; said Lt. Col. James Baker, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion. “;The ammo technicians in the battalion are making it possible for the Marines here to train hard”; by quickly supplying the ammunition needed during live-fire events.

He added this praise does not come lightly and is echoed by the leadership in the battalion.

“;No doubt the 1,350 members of Task Force 1/3 are feeling the loss of this Marine and are looking forward to returning to their families,”; Baker said.

Tenbrook's awards include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Mullen's wife and 5-year-old son were taken to the Hanson House, which provides temporary housing for families of critically ill or injured patients at Desert Regional Medical Center, in Palm Springs yesterday to be with him while he is hospitalized.

The accident occurred during a monthlong training exercise as the Kaneohe battalion prepares for its fifth wartime deployment. It has been to Iraq three times, and this will be its second deployment to Afghanistan where it will replace its affiliate unit, the 2nd Battalion, now in Helmand province.