(WBOY) – Two Marines were confirmed dead after a tactical vehicle accident near a base in North Carolina on Wednesday. One of those Marines was confirmed to be Pfc. Zachary Riffle of Kingwood, West Virginia.
According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Center, Riffle was declared dead on the site of the accident by a medical authority. From Kingwood, West Virginia, Pfc. Riffle was a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. He was 18 years old.
Riffle was an alumnus of Preston High School where he played football and wrestled, graduating in 2021. Since his death, loved ones have been sharing photos of Riffle in remembrance. According to a post by the Preston High Wrestling Facebook page, Riffle chose to forego his senior wrestling season in order to graduate early and become a Marine. Preston High School shared the following statement on its Facebook page:
We would like to express our sincere condolences to the friends and family of recent PHS graduate, Zach Riffle.
Preston High School Facebook post, Jan. 20, 2022
One other Marine was also killed in the accident, Lance Gierke, 19, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and 17 others were injured.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper posted his remarks on the crash to Twitter on Wednesday, saying “I send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the U.S. Marines who lost their lives in a tragic accident today in Onslow County. We are so proud of our military heroes at Camp Lejeune and across North Carolina. Our prayers go out to them.”