CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Here at home, local Marines say their prayers are with the families.
"There is a void, a huge hole. It is sad we lost some of our brothers," says Andy King.
Seven Marines from a North Carolina unit were killed when a 60mm mortar exploded unexpectedly at a Nevada military depot that's an important training facility for troops headed overseas
King is the Commandant of the Marine Corps League of Charlotte. In light of the tragedy, the organization with seventy members strong plan to honor the soldiers with a moment of silence at tonight's monthly meeting in Mint Hill.
The group will also ring the bell seven times in memory of the soldiers killed.
The group typically assists families of wounded soldiers and perform ceremonies of soldiers killed in combat.
A 60mm mortar shell is said to have exploded inside the artillery tube during the group's training exercise.
King says knowing the safety precautions taken during these exercises, he is surprised to hear of such a loss.
"It's tantamount to having a family member die," says King.
King served as a mortar squad leader in Vietnam, and knows all too well the dangers of these high explosives.
"You have to pay attention because it is life or death."