Florida Marine killed in training exercise

19-year-old dies after live-fire training incident in California


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Marine Corps released new information today in a training incident Monday that left a Florida Marine dead and another critically injured.

Nineteen-year-old Lance Corporal Austin J. Ruiz, of Naples, Florida, was pronounced dead after what's being called a "mishap" during live-fire training Jan. 16 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. The Marines were conducting unit training in preparation for the start of Integrated Training Exercise 2-17.

The Marine Corps says Ruiz served as a combat engineer with 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan. He was attached to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, at the time of the incident and transported via ground MEDEVAC before being declared deceased.

A second Marine remains in critical condition in a Palm Springs hospital. That Marine's name has not been released, but the Marine Corps says the service member is assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

“The Lava Dogs of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, along with the rest of the Marine Corps, mourn the tragedy which befell two of our Marines and their families. Both Marines answered a higher calling to put service before self and there is nothing more admirable or unselfish,” said Lt. Col. Jeremiah Salame, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, in a statement.

Because the incident remains under investigation, the Marine Corps says no further information will be released at this time.