Marine recruit, 18, dies after collapsing during training at California’s Camp Pendleton

An 18-year-old Marine died after collapsing during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton in Southern California last month, military officials said Saturday.

Pfc. Javier Pong was participating in scheduled training on Sept. 27 when he “became unconscious and unresponsive,” the Marine Corps said in a statement. Pong died at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Pfc. Javier Pong as he continued his journey to become a United States Marine,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Morris, the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, said in the statement.

“We are committed to honoring his memory, supporting those he served with, and investigating the cause of his death to ensure we can safely transition civilians into Marines and maintain the trust of the American people,” Morris continued.

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The Marines announced Saturday the death of Pfc.  Javier Pong, 18, after he collapsed and died during training at Camp Pendleton on Sept. 27.

The Marines announced Saturday the death of Pfc. Javier Pong, 18, after he collapsed and died during training at Camp Pendleton on Sept. 27.
(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Pong lived his entire life in the area before graduating from Mayfield High School in May, according to his online obituary.

Marines did not immediately describe what type of training recruits were engaged in when Pong collapsed. Officials also did not say why they waited 11 days to announce the death.

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Morris said the Marines are investigating Pong’s death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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