The Marines Still Haven't Found 2 Rifles That Went Missing at Lejeune

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An M4 service rifle is staged during a training exercise at Range 5, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 10, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Christian Varney)
An M4 service rifle is staged during a training exercise at Range 5, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 10, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Christian Varney)

The investigation into a pair of rifles and a flak jacket that went missing last month during a Marine Corps training event in North Carolina remains ongoing.

The gear, which is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, has not been recovered, said 1st Lt. Dan Linfante, a 2nd Marine Division spokesman.

He declined to say whether any Marines have faced punishment as a result of the incident, referring all questions to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. That agency confirmed the investigation remains underway.

Few details are known about the circumstances that led to the gear disappearing. Linfante said last month that the division is taking the situation very seriously.

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The incident, which happened just before Christmas, led to rumors spreading online of Marines' holiday leave requests being canceled. Linfante said at the time that no one was denied time off as a result of the missing rifles.

The infantry battalion has taken some heat for the situation on social media from other Marines and veterans. The creator of the popular Marine-themed "Terminal Lance" comic on Jan. 1 wished all East Coast Marines a Happy New Year. "Except 3/6," he added.

Reddit, a social media forum, is full of posts about the unit. One popular meme shows a corporal's rank insignia with the message "3/6 Marines before the field." Underneath is a photo of the insignia with the crossed rifles removed. It reads, "3/6 Marines after the field."

Linfante said the unit remains at the ready to carry out its missions.

"[Third] Battalion, 6th Marines, remains a combat-ready unit training to enhance their ability to accomplish the full spectrum of operations that Marines are expected to be proficient in," he said.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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