A takeout by the Desert Sun in Palm Springs finds that since 2007, 33 Marines have died in crashes on roads near the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. More of those deaths have occurred on California highway 62 than anywhere else. The death toll is higher than that incurred by Twentynine Palms Marines in the Middle East, the paper says.
The Twentynine Palms Combat Center is uniquely isolated: No other Marine base on U.S. soil places so many service members so far from major cities. The desert towns around the base are small, with few options for entertainment. Palm Springs is the closest hub for dining, night life, music, art or shopping, but the resort city sits about an hour from the base, an alluring oasis at the end of a long desert road.
That road is Highway 62, often called Twentynine Palms Highway, a 151-mile route that runs through the Mojave Desert from the Coachella Valley to the Arizona border. A dozen Marines have died on this road since 2007.