Marines fire commander after fatal training exercise

Oct. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Marine Corps said it has fired the commanding officer of the unit involved in a fatal training exercise in July that resulted in the deaths of nine members of the U.S. military.

The statement released by the Marine Corps late Tuesday said Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner was relieved of his duties “due to a loss in trust and confidence in his ability to command as a result of the assault amphibious vehicle mishap that took place off the coast of Southern California July 30, 2020.”

Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl fired Regner amid an ongoing investigation into the sinking of the amphibious assault vehicle involving 16 service members, killing eight Marines and a Sailor, the statement said, adding “Command Investigation has compiled a substantial amount of information and data” to support his decision.

Marine officials identified those who died in the incident as Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19; U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood 19; and Cesar A. Villanueva, 21; and Lance Cp. Guillermo S. Perez, 20.

Only Perez’s body was found following the accident with the other bodies retrieved in early August when the Navy and Marin Corps located the sunken vehicle.

Of those who survived the incident, two were transported to the hospital with injuries.

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