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Navy probes death of Marine shot, killed while on armed duty at Navy Submarine Base

Lance Cpl. Derek Diesel, right, prepares a portable laser designator to sight in on a target during the culminating event of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Combined Arms Exercise 2016 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, June 17, 2016. (Gunnery Sgt. Robert Brown/Marine Corps)
September 27, 2019

An investigation is underway following the shooting death of a 25-year-old Marine sentry at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is looking into the incidents surrounding the Aug. 11, death of Marine Sgt. Derek Diesel. Diesel suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to a military mishap report obtained by Marine Corps Times.

Marine officials acknowledged the investigation but did not release any additional information to the Marine Corps Times.

Diesel was attached to the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment tasked with guarding the Navy base. The Georgia base houses the Navy’s East Coast Ohio class nuclear submarines, which are armed with Trident nuclear missiles.

Diesel attended the Virginia Military Institute and joined the Marine Corps in 2014, according to an obituary posted on the Florida-based Beach Funeral Homes.

“Derek was a hardworking, passionate leader both at home and throughout his service in the Marine Corps. He loved his family, friends, and country,” the obituary reads. “His hobbies included spending time with his wife and daughter, working on their house, cars and motorcycles. He was also a member of Rival MC and enjoyed riding with his brothers in the club.”

Diesel is survived by his wife, Kara, and a two-year-old daughter. Diesel is also survived by his mother and father in law Pam and Kenny, his mother and father Marion and Keith, his brother Louis, and two sisters Victoria and Alexandra, according to the Obituary.

“We are still waiting on answers on what actually happened,” Kara Diesel said in the email to the Marine Corps Times. “My husband was an amazing man who impacted so many Marines, family and friends and we all miss him very much.”

Kara said her husband did not commit suicide, despite the gunshot wound reportedly appearing to be self-inflicted.

Two other U.S. Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, were also killed in separate incidents in April and May of this year.

A Marine raider deployed in Iraq was killed in August, in what investigators believe may have been a “friendly fire” incident. The incident was the first reported death of a Marine Corps service member in combat in 2019.

Another Marine was shot and paralyzed during a July live-fire training accident.