Parachute mishap resulted in Marine’s North Carolina training death

by Vern Evans

The Marine who died during training in North Carolina on Thursday night had been in a parachute accident, the Marine Corps confirmed.

Sgt. Colin Arslanbas, a reconnaissance Marine assigned to the Maritime Special Purpose Force, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was killed in a training accident late Thursday night, the Corps previously stated.

The Naval Safety Command’s list of major mishaps now says that an unnamed Marine was “involved in a parachute mishap, died at scene” on Friday in the vicinity of Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field Atlantic, North Carolina.

Spokeswoman for II Marine Expeditionary Force Lt. Col. Cassandra Stanton confirmed to Marine Corps Times on Wednesday that Arslanbas “was involved in a parachute mishap during the 24th MEU’s Composite Unit Training Exercise.”

The Composite Unit Training Exercise is the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s final certification exercise before it deploys with the Navy’s Wasp Amphibious Ready Group.

The details in the Naval Safety Command’s list mostly align with what the Corps previously has disclosed about the accident that killed Arslanbas. II Marine Expeditionary Force said in a news release Friday that the accident took place during a training exercise in North Carolina’s Carteret County, where Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field Atlantic is located.

Marine Corps Times asked the Naval Safety Command for more information, including why it listed the mishap as having occurred on Friday instead of Thursday, and didn’t immediately receive a response.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating Arslanbas’ death, according to Marine spokeswoman Capt. Emma Thompson.

A Missouri native, Arslanbas enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2020 and was promoted to the rank of sergeant on April 1, weeks before his death, according to a Marine Corps news release.

His decorations include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

“Words cannot convey our sorrow for the tragic loss of one of our MEU family members,” Col. Todd Mahar, 24th MEU commanding officer, said in the news release. “The 24th MEU family mourns the loss of an outstanding Marine and leader. We offer our deepest condolences and unwavering support to his family during this most difficult time.”

Marine Corps Times attempted to reach Arslanbas’ family via email.

There have not been any other reported deaths in the Marine Corps stemming from parachute mishaps in 2023 or 2024, the years for which data is available on the Naval Safety Command’s website. Marine Corps Times has asked the Naval Safety Command for data from a longer period of time.

In June 2020, Marine Sgt. Wolfgang Kyle “Wolf” Weninger, 28, died during a training jump at Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Cpl. Alejandro Romero, 22, died in January 2018 after his main and reserve parachutes failed to function fully at the Multi-Mission Parachute Course in Coolidge, Arizona. Another Marine corporal became permanently disabled in November 2018 in that jump course.

Between 2011 and 2016, 11 special operators from across the military died in jump mishaps, a Military Times investigation found in 2017.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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