A 24-year-old Marine from the D.C. area was training at Camp Pendleton in California when he was injured during a training exercise involving an overturned light armored vehicle.
Marine Corps platoon Cmdr., Hugh C. McDowell, was born in D.C. and grew up in Chevy Chase. He died from his injuries Thursday.
His father, Michael H.C. McDowell said he realized it had come to an end when three Marines came to his door.
“They started to say the words, I said, ‘Stop, please tell me my son is still alive,'” he said, speaking with WTOP news partner NBC Washington.
McDowell said he has many questions about what led to his son’s death.
“Did he die pointlessly? Did someone make a mistake? Was the equipment faulty? I will not be satisfied unless it is a very vigorous investigation,” McDowell said.
He said making sure his son’s legacy is remembered is also important, describing him as a patriot with a commitment to his country.
“He was a leader, he loved leading the young kids,” McDowell said.
McDowell grew up with dreams of becoming a soldier and joined the Marines in 2017. He had also planned to announce his engagement to the love of his life.
Six other marines in the vehicle were also injured during the training accident but are expected to be OK.
The Marine Corps issued a statement calling the accident tragic, saying, “We are heartbroken at the loss of a member of our Marine Corps family.”
Officials are now investigating what may have led to the incident.