Another One… 18-Year-Old Marine Recruit Dies After Collapsing in Training at Camp Pendleton

by J Pelkey
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The United States Marine Corps released the identity of a Marine recruit who was pronounced dead after he collapsed during training at Camp Pendleton on September 27.

Private First-Class Javier F. Pong, 18, became unconscious and unresponsive during routine training on September 27, military officials said in a press release.

Pong was from Las Cruces, N.M., and recently graduated from high school in May, according to his obituary.

From Pong’s obituaray:

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Javier was a devoted brother and son. He enjoyed camping and hiking, he loved to find new places to see especially those his dad took him to. He also enjoyed spending time with his family any chance he got. Javier was a selfless person who looked out for all the people he cared for and went above and beyond to see them happy. He loved to listen to music and spent some of his time working out to achieve his goal to be a fit Marine. Javier was a faithful Christian who attended church every Sunday and Wednesday and was involved in church activities. He loved playing with his dogs Mac and Diesel who he cared for very deeply. He loved to eat spicy foods especially Valentina, he added chili to anything. He loved to go off-roading with his dad. Javier enjoyed watching movies and getting snacks with his sister. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who knew him.

Pong was transported to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, where he was pronounced dead.

“We are greatly saddened by the untimely passing of Pfc. Javier Pong as he pursued his journey to become a United States Marine,” said Brig. Gen. Jason L. Morris, commanding general, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

“All of us here at MCRD San Diego mourn his loss and extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time. 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,” Brig. Gen. Morris said.

Pong’s death was announced by the Marines in an emailed statement Saturday evening — 11 days after the recruit died.

In-service training deaths are routinely announced within 24 hours.

The Marine Corps did not release Pong’s service information or home of record. The Corps also did not release his service photo.

When Seaman Kyle Mullen, 24, died Feb. 4 during SEAL training in Coronado, the Navy announced the death in a news release the next day. They named Mullen in a separate release the following day, Feb. 6.

An investigation is underway.

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