Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton has played a major role in military history over the past 77 years, and John Farritor is one of the rare men who has seen that history unfold from the start.
The Vista, California veteran, who turned 100 on Tuesday, is one of the few surviving Marine veterans who marched 55 miles from Camp Elliott in San Diego to christen the newly opened base near Oceanside in September 1942.
He also fought with Camp Pendleton-based divisions in some of the Corps' most defining and deadly battles of World War II and the Korean War, including at Iwo Jima, Bougainville, the Pusan Perimeter, the Inchon Landing and the Chosin Reservoir.
Marcus Nelson Pringle couldn't help but smile Sunday as he waded through waist-deep muddy water.
The 30-year-old Los Angeles County man had just run nearly five miles — facing numerous obstacles — and ended up at the so-called Triple Threat of the annual Mud Run at Camp Pendleton. He walked through a roughly 43-foot mud pool, then jumped over a 5-foot wooden barrier, into another mud pool, got back on land, went into another mud pool, crawled through an 18-foot rubber tube, and then started running again. He had another 1.2 miles to go.
Nelson Pringle is a connoisseur of mud runs, a type of obstacle course race similar to military training, and was participating in his eighth. He said the challenge of mud runs are what keeps him interested and coming back.
"I normally hate running," he said.
Roughly 7,500 people participated in the 26th annual Mud Run on Saturday and Sunday, a rare opportunity for the public to come on one of the nation's largest Marine Corps bases. The run is organized by the Marine Corps Community Services department, with money earned going toward recreational activities for Marines on base and their families.
A member of Marine Corps Special Operations Command died after being involved in a tactical vehicle accident during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California on April 13.
According to a statement from MARSOC, the unnamed Raider suffered "critical injuries" that required helicopter evacuation.
"He did not survive his injuries and passed away the night of April 14," the statement said.
Two other Raiders received minor injuries. According to Marine Corps Times, the vehicle involved was a Polaris MRZR, a lightweight dune buggy that can carry up to four personnel and up to 1,000 pounds of gear.
An investigation into the incident is underway. Per DoD policy, the Marine's name is being withheld from disclosure until next of kin is notified.
First Lt. Matthew Kraft, who has been missing in the High Sierra backcountry for more than a month, likely has died after being "overcome by severe winter storms," the Marine Corps concluded Thursday, April 11.