Families of Fallen Marines Mourn Loss - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Families of Fallen Marines Mourn Loss

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Last night, the remains of the seven Marines killed in Monday night's mortar explosion at the Hawthorne Army Depot were flown to Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware.

We are learning more about the people these Marines were. All seven served in Afghanistan and some did more than one tour. Their loved ones are still grasping the fact that they survived a war only to die in an accidental explosion on U.S. soil.

"I worried about him a little when he was overseas, but I never thought I'd have to worry about him at home," Melissa Vanderwork said.

21-year-old Mason Vanderwork, was from Hickory, North Carolina.

His mother, Melissa, says she is still in shock over her son's death, but says he was a fine Marine that served his country well.

"He was my life, my world, my best friend, my hero," Melissa Vanderwork said.

Josh Taylor was an Ohio native that joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

The 21-year-old was preparing for another tour in Afghanistan and was engaged to be married.

His wedding was planned for May.

"There's so many of them (cries), sorry," Jerome Muchnick said.

Muchnick is mourning the loss of his grandson, 23-year-old Roger Muchnick, Jr.

He was a proud Marine and the oldest of four children.

The Westport, Connecticut native was known for his athleticism, playing football and lacrosse in high school.

"Just a sweet kid," Jerome Muchnick said. "He was totally respectful."

26-year-old Aaron Ripperda was the oldest Marine killed in the explosion.

His father says joining the Marines was his calling but he planned on leaving the Corps for college.

He was set to attend Southern Illinois University this fall, and wanted to be a professional chef.

The youngest killed was 19-year-old Josh Martino.

He grew up in Clearfield, Pennsylvania and planned on going home for Easter.

He was engaged to his high school sweetheart.

They planned on getting married in 2014.

"We're devastated," William Wild said. 

Saverna Park, Maryland is remembering one of their sons, William "Taylor" Wild.

The 21-year-old was a star baseball player in high school.

He became a Marine after graduation.

"Smile on his face then put a smile on your face," William Wild, Taylor's father, said. "Had the quick word to make you laugh, made your day. He walked into a room and then the room immediately lit up."

One of Wild's closest friends was David Fenn of Polk City, Florida.

His mother says the 20-year-old wanted to be a Marine since he was about eight years old.

Already, an online fundraiser has raised nearly $3,000 that will go to the girlfriend he left behind.

The military will pay to fly their remains home from Dover Air Force base, so their families can make funeral arrangements.

Written by Paul Nelson
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