A Camp Lejeune official said the buses were taking Marines to Norfolk, Va. for certification exercises when they collided on U.S. 17 about two miles north of Maysville and just south of New Bern.
According to Highway Patrol spokesperson Everett Clendenin, three buses and two SUVs were involved in the crash. Several vehicles were stopped for a vehicle attempting to make a turn off of U.S. 17. Two buses slowed and stopped for traffic; however, the third bus failed to stop striking the second bus in the rear.
A total of 59 Marines and one sailor were on the buses. According to Lejeune personnel, the buses were contracted from All-Together Tours out of Enfield, N.C.
Thirteen injured Marines were taken to Camp Lejeune Naval hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Captain Carpernter told Eyewitness News the unit's training paid off. The Marines were trained in handling mass casualties and were able to assist first responders.
Carpenter also said the wreck will not prevent the unit from its scheduled training, nor will it prevent the unit from completing any tasks or missions while deployed.
The uninjured Marines were taken to Norfolk where they will participate in training with the Bataan Strike Group. The purpose of the training is to prepare the unit for deployment in the spring.
Traffic on U.S. 17 was backed up for several miles in each direction.
Eyewitness News is headed to the scene and we will update you on this story as soon as details are available.