Search scaled back for Marine lieutenant missing in California mountains for nearly 2 weeks

Matthew Kraft (Photo: 1st Marine Division)

The search for the Marine lieutenant missing in the California mountains for nearly two weeks is being scaled back to a "limited continuous search status" since rescuers have been unable to locate him along his planned route.

1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, 24, was reported missing to law enforcement after failing to make his return date while skiing and hiking the Sierra High Route in central California. His itinerary began Feb. 23 at the Kearsarge Pass trailhead and he was scheduled to finish around March 4 or 5 at Bridgeport, California, according to a press release from the 1st Marine Division.

Since then, multiple federal and local agencies have been searching throughout the mountains for Kraft, but have only been able to find his vehicle at a campground near Independence, Calif. Searching an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, rescue crews have faced significant challenges, including rough weather and high winds, and snow instability, the Division said.

In addition to searching on the ground, aircraft with thermal and night vision capability have also been deployed to the area, but they only found animal-related activity.

Now the interagency search effort that is looking for Kraft is shutting down its command post and ground search efforts are being suspended until the summer, said Sintia C. Kawasaki-Yee, a spokeswoman for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

"We are not presuming Mr. Kraft dead; we are merely scaling down search operations," Kawasaki-Yee told Task & Purpose.

With the command post closed, park rangers will "not be focused on this incident all day," she said, while flight crews will "keep this in the back of their mind" whenever they fly over the park area.

Kawasaki-Yee insisted that the search for Kraft is not over because ground search operations will resume in a couple of months.

"Our rangers and staff will continue to search," she said. "We are just waiting for the conditions to improve to be able to get more rangers out there safely in areas that we weren't able to search with ground crews at this time of year. As the snow begins to melt, as wilderness rangers begin to deploy out to the wilderness, they will also be searching for clues."

Kraft, an infantry officer with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines out of 29 Palms, California, has extensive survival training from the Marine Corps, a source familiar with the matter told Task & Purpose.

"The Marine Corps, along with the other assisting agencies, will continue to stand by and support Kraft's family, friends, and Marines during this difficult time," said 1st Marine Division spokesman Capt. Paul Gainey.

If the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program is supposed to produce the iPhone of lethality, then the service is looking for as many killer apps as possible.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert C. O'Brien arrives to the district court, during the second day of ASAP Rocky's trial, in Stockholm, Sweden August 1, 2019. (Reuters/TT News Agency/Fredrik Persson)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday named U.S. hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien as his choice to replace John Bolton as his national security adviser, making him the fourth person to hold the post in the Trump administration.

Read More Show Less

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

QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE, Virginia -- Textron Systems is working with the Navy to turn a mine-sweeping unmanned surface vessel designed to work with Littoral Combat Ships into a mine-hunting craft armed with Hellfire missiles and a .50-caliber machine gun.

Textron displayed the proof-of-concept, surface-warfare mission package designed for the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) at Modern Day Marine 2019.

"It's a huge capability," Wayne Prender, senior vice president for Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron Systems, told on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.

Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.

The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"

Read More Show Less
he amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returns to homeport at Naval Base San Diego on February 25, 2015. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.

Read More Show Less