Stationed At Camp Pendleton? Enjoy These Dead Animals In Your Drinking Water

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U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Joseph Jansen drinks water from vine as part of the jungle survival course during Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014 at Teluk Gorek Beach, Malaysia. Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
Marines/Cpl. Stephen D. Himes

Well, that’s a weird protein supplement, even for Marines.


West Coast devil dogs stationed at California’s Camp Pendleton know that hydration is key to good health. And their leaders insist the drinking water on base is perfectly fine for human consumption. Don’t worry about the “rats rotting on a reservoir gate, a desiccated frog clinging to a reservoir ladder and another rodent carcass floating in treated water” that federal inspectors found in the base drinking supply in June.

Some of what the EPA found.Environmental Protection Agency

That’s what San Diego Union-Tribune reporter and Marine veteran Carl Prine learned in conversations with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, which forced the Marine Corps to admit Sep. 28 that it needed to do a better job of following federal clean water regulations on Pendleton — home to 55,000 Marines, staffers, and dependents, as well as a federal Superfund site.

Investigators found “vulnerabilities in the condition of our physical plant with specific emphasis on our 34 treated drinking water reservoirs across the base,” according to internal Marine documents circulated Thursday. Which is true, but hardly scratches the surface… the rodent-rich surface. Prine explains the worst is hopefully past, though:

EPA officials told The San Diego Union-Tribune that after the Marines failed the June inspections, workers removed all animal remains from the system, cleaned the reservoirs, began routine testing of the water for Coliform bacteria and chlorine levels and pledged to keep surveying water quality to ensure it was safe to drink.

“Simply put, the water is and has been safe to drink. Camp Pendleton is committed to providing safe and compliant drinking water. This is a duty and responsibility that we take very seriously,” said base spokesman Carl Redding in an emailed statement.

So says the Corps. If you want to read what investigators say — and you really should — check out Prine’s full report.

Lance Cpl. Vincent D. Shafer, an engineer equipment operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 1st Marine Logistics Group, drinks filtered water during a final training exercise at Pulgas Lake at Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 23.Marines/released

The Corps, which has had to deal with a rash of fatal and injury-causing mishaps in the Fleet Marine Force this year — including a major AAV fire at Camp Pendleton — is no stranger to serious drinking-water issues on its major bases either; since the 1950s, Camp Lejeune Marines have reported a variety of serious health complications that were attributed to toxins in the drinking supply; that incident is still the subject of federal study.

As for the causes of Pendleton’s potable pestilence, Prine reports there are construction delays and “treatment operators working 12-hour shifts who make $20,000 less per year than employees at neighboring water districts, hampering hiring and staffing.”

The base also lacks a central control system to monitor sensors in the water supply. It had one, but it’s busted, Prine writes, “because of lack of maintenance, wildfires and the loss of Marine Corps cybersecurity accreditation.” Somebody’s getting a low mark in the “Mission Accomplishment” block on their fitrep.

Soldiers from the 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in Southern Afghanistan, June 10th, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent)

Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)

Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.

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Audie Murphy (U.S. Army photo)

Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018

On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.

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A Purple Heart (DoD photo)

Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

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Ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 transit the Pacific Ocean Jan. 22, 2020. DESRON 23, part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erick A. Parsons)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy and Marine Corps need to be a bit more short-sighted when assessing how many ships they need, the acting Navy secretary said this week.

The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.

"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.

The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.

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Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Oscar Temores and his family. (GoFundMe)

When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.

Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.

"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."

That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.

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