High-powered explosives are missing from one of the nation’s largest U.S. marine bases, according to a report by CNN on Tuesday.
Military personnel say Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County, California, notified the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department last week of the missing explosives, but have not been asked to assist with the investigation, according to the news outlet.
The base located 150 miles east of Los Angeles was established for the Marine Corps in 1952 and operates live fire combined arms training that promotes readiness of operating forces. During World War II and until 1944, the airfield at Twentynine Palms was utilized by the U.S. Army Air Force for primary flight training.
“MCGACC covers more than 998 square miles of the high desert, which makes it larger than some small countries. The premier training facility is nestled in the quiet desert paradise of Twentynine Palms, and together, makes up one of the most unique living environments in the western United States,” according to Military.com
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is leading the investigation into the incident. It is unclear what kind of explosives were missing and how many, Jeff Houston with NCIS Public Affairs told CNN. “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on or confirm details relating to ongoing investigations,” he noted.
According to KGTV-TV in San Diego, Calif., the explosives were possibly stolen from the base, and a reward is being offered for any information. “Sources report that approximately 10 pounds of Composition C-4 disappeared during a long training exercise two weeks ago.”
“The unit’s commanding officer is considering extending the training exercise until the explosives are found, sources said. They also confirm the commanding officer messaged subordinate commands about a monetary reward for any information leading to the discovery of the C-4.”
The explosive is one of the most powerful used by the U.S. military. Foreign terrorist groups have commonly used C-4 worldwide in acts of terrorism.