Hawthorne Army Depot: Seven Marines killed in training exercise.

Seven Marines Killed During Training Exercise in Nevada

Seven Marines Killed During Training Exercise in Nevada

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March 19 2013 9:40 AM

Seven Marines Killed During Training Exercise in Western Nevada

Screen grab of U.S. Army's Hawthorne Army Depot institutional video

Seven Marines were killed and at least seven others wounded at an Army munitions depot in the Nevada desert, reports NBC News. Although it’s still not clear what exactly happened, it seems a mortar exploded late Monday during a Marine training exercise at the Hawthorne Army Depot, according to Reuters. NBC says some reports claim a mortar shell exploded as Marines were getting ready to fire it, while another report claims a shell exploded when Marines picked it up to load it.

According to the website of the 147,000-acre site, the Hawthorne Army Depot is “the nation’s premier demilitarization facility for conventional ammunition.” Because of its isolated desert location, the site is the “ideal” backdrop to train special operations forces as they prepare to deploy to the Middle East and elsewhere.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.