2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines is in preparation for their upcoming duty with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
Early on the morning of July 30th, the Battalion Motor Pool received a flurry of calls from the two Marines — but they went unanswered due to the dispatcher’s being in the middle of a heated game of Madden, or what they called “annual training.”
The two communications Marines — Corporals’ Michael Dermot and Philip Nagowski — were on a run to Camp Foster to reallocate spare PRC-117 radios when their HMMWV unexpectedly ran out of gas. It then rolled gently to a stop at the end of a downhill street in the town of Kin before the aging vehicle’s front axle snapped.
“I tried to call the motor pool to report the problem, but my phone’s battery died,” said Cpl Dermot. “and I forgot to check out my unit duty phone.”
Cpl Nagowski had also forgotten to charge his own phone the night before, and was too hungover to even contemplate his spare battery before leaving the room that morning.
The two Marines, who each passed the brand new HMMWV course on MarineNet, knew the proper course of action was to set the chock block under the wheel and wait for assistance from their parent command. Unfortunately, the chock block wasn’t in the vehicle, and according to their written testimonies, the vehicle “somehow became upside down in a nearby ditch.”
Both Marines deny pushing the broken Humvee one hundred feet to the nearest storm levy in a fit of rage.
After not hearing from the two NCO’s, Company Gunnery Sergeant Michael Anderson, who said he was “sick of this shit,” sent another vehicle along the same route to look for them.
It was that vehicle which first came to the wreck site, where the first Humvee was still smoldering — having spontaneously combusted and set ablaze from within.
After being stranded for 4 hours, the Marines were picked up and brought back to the Company office, where they awaited the terms of their impending NJPs [Non-Judicial Punishment]. However, by the time a recovery crew responded promptly about 17 hours later to pick up the still-stranded Humvee, no two parts of the vehicle were still connected to each other. When the identification numbers and plates were run, it was discovered that the vehicle was actually under the CMR [Consolidated Memorandum Report] of a unit in Camp Lejeune and should not have been in the Camp Hansen motor pool at all.
Of the incident, Company First Sergeant David McKinley just chuckled as he dropped NJP charges.
“These darn Humvees never work right. Always something new.”
The vehicle has since disintegrated into dust and was discovered to be dangerously radioactive.