EMERALD ISLE, N.C. — Authorities on the North Carolina coast say a Camp Lejeune Marine has drowned.
Emerald Isle police say 28-year-old Lance Cpl. Justin A. Hinds of Avondale, Arizona, was pulled from the surf by friends last Saturday.
He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Investigators have not said if Hinds was caught in a rip current, although yellow flags were displayed on the beach on Saturday, indicating a moderate risk of strong currents.
Statement from Camp Lejeune on the death of Lance Cpl. Justin Hinds:
“The sudden loss of LCpl Hinds is absolutely devastating for the entire command,” said Col Scott Conway, commanding officer, H&S Battalion. “Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow Marines during this difficult time. My sincere hope is that his loved ones can take some comfort knowing what a profound impact he had on those with whom he served. He will be missed.”
According to Camp Lejeune, Hinds joined the armed forces in June 2011 as a combat engineer with the U.S. Army and deployed to Afghanistan from June 2011 to June 2012. He then joined the U.S. Army National Guard from April 2014 to December 2015, prior to joining the U.S. Marine Corps the following month. Lance Cpl. Hinds’ awards include: Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal – ISAF Afghanistan, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon and Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.
Hinds' death is the fourth drowning on the North Carolina coast so far this year.
A Chapel Hill man was found dead April 25 in the surf near the boardwalk at Carolina Beach, and two Wake Forest High School students got caught in a rip current April 22 off Emerald Isle.