Relatives identify 2 victims of explosion at Army depot

Wednesday - 3/20/2013, 2:10pm EDT

HAWTHORNE, Nev. (AP) -- Relatives are confirming the names of two of the seven Marines who died in a mortar explosion at an Army ammunition depot in Nevada.

The grandfather of 23-year-old Roger Muchnick of Connecticut says he's among the dead. He says his grandson had served in Afghanistan.

Also among the victims was 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Josh Taylor of Ohio. His grandfather says he had fulfilled a nearly lifelong dream when he joined the military right after graduating from high school in 2010. Taylor was engaged to be married, with a wedding planned for May.

Marine officers from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina arrived at the Hawthorne Army Depot yesterday to start trying to figure out what caused the shell to explode in its firing tube. The accident prompted the Pentagon to stop the use of the weapons until an investigation can determine whether they are safe.

Residents of the area around the base gathered yesterday to mourn the loss of the seven Marines. Nearly 300 people attended a brief memorial service yesterday at a city park across the street from the base. A giant American flag flew at half staff.

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068-a-10-(Brigadier General Jim Lukeman, commander, 2nd Marine Division, at news conference)-"the nation's finest"-Brigadier General Jim Lukeman, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, says the community mourns the loss of at least seven Marines. (20 Mar 2013)

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066-r-59-(Sound of Taps, played at wreath-laying ceremony for eight Marines killed in a mortar shell explosion)--Sound of Taps played at a wreath-laying ceremony for eight Marines killed in a mortar shell explosion in Nevada. (20 Mar 2013)

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APPHOTO AX202: In this undated photo released by Eastern Connecticut State University, Marine Roger Muchnick poses for a photograph while in school in Conn. Muchnick 23, with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C., was killed with 6 other Marines after mortar shell exploded during a training exercise at the Hawthorne, Nev., Army Depot. (AP Photo/Eastern Connecticut State University) (20 Mar 2013)

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APPHOTO AX201: In this undated photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps via the Marietta Times, Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Taylor poses for a photograph. Taylor 21, with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C., was killed with 6 other Marines after mortar shell exploded during a training exercise at the Hawthorne, Nev., Army Depot. (AP Photo/U.S. Marin Corps) (20 Mar 2013)

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