Illinois Marine one of 7 killed in blast
ST. LOUIS (AP) – A southwestern Illinois native was killed with six other Marines in an explosion during a Nevada training exercise he privately questioned because he was just 2 months from coming home, his father said Wednesday.
Aaron Ripperda, 26, of Highland, was eager to go back to college and “get on with his life,” Kent Ripperda told The Associated Press from his home just east of St. Louis.
His son died Monday night when a mortar shell blew up in its firing tube at the sprawling Hawthorne Army Depot, sending shrapnel into the young Marine and other troops as they trained. Eight others were injured.
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