The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) fired the Commanding Officer of Battalion Landing Team 1/4 after the assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) mishap that took place off the coast of Southern California on July 30.
Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, Commanding Officer of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) was relieved by Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) due to a loss in trust and confidence in his ability to command as a result of the AAV mishap.
The battalion landing team, a reinforced infantry battalion, is the ground combat element of the MEU, and consists of three rifle companies, along with artillery, light-armored reconnaissance, assault amphibian, and combat engineer attachments. These elements are readily available to the MEU commander to project ground combat power from ship-to-shore.
“Although the Command Investigation has compiled a substantial amount of information and data which formed the basis for Heckl’s decision, it is still ongoing as the Marine Corps continues to investigate, assess all relevant information, and take appropriate actions”, said a statement released by I MEF based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The AAV sunk to a depth of approximately 385 feet after taking on water during a shore-to-ship maneuver approximately 1,500 meters off the coast of San Clemente Island.
One Marine was pronounced dead at the scene, and seven missing Marines and one Sailor were subsequently presumed dead August 2 as search and rescue efforts ceased. The remains of seven Marines and the Sailor were successfully recovered on Aug. 7.