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Marine Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV, of Anne Arundel, Md., 21, was killed with six other Marines in an explosion during a Nevada training exercise March 18. (Marine Corps via AP)
The son of the top enlisted airman for the 512th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del., was among seven Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force killed this week when a mortar shell exploded in its firing tube during an exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. Eight others were injured, some severely.
Lance Cpl. William Taylor Wild IV — better known as Taylor to his friends and family — always wanted to go into the military, like his father, Chief Master Sgt. William T. Wild III, the command chief master sergeant of the 512th Airlift Wing, an associate C-5 and C-17 Air Force Reserve unit at Dover.
Wild, 21, joined the Marines shortly after graduating in 2010 from Severna Park High School near Annapolis, Md., according to Wild’s mother, Elizabeth Wild.
Elizabeth Wild said her son, a mortarman with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, was in a weapons platoon scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in November. He had already been deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Kuwait.
“Taylor enjoyed spending time with his father at Dover,” Elizabeth Wild said Thursday during an interview with Air Force Times. The family would often gather for family days and ceremonies at the base.
“He always liked to visit the [Air Mobility Command] museum there and walking through it. He was a history buff, and enjoyed looking at military history,” she said.
Wild had been awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and NATO-ISAF Afghanistan Medal.
He will be buried April 2 at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.
The military identified the other Marines who were killed as Pfc. Josh Martino, 19, of Dubois, Pa.; Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II, 20, of Polk City, Fla.; Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork, 21, of Hickory, N.C.; Lance Cpl. Josh Taylor, 21, of Marietta, Ohio; Lance Cpl. Roger Muchnick, 23, Westport, Conn.; and Cpl. Aaron Ripperda, 26, of Highland, Ill.
Monday’s explosion caused an immediate suspension of the use of 60mm mortars by the Marine Corps until the accident investigation is complete, with an exemption for troops in Afghanistan.