- The Marine Corps has fired a two-star general from his job as inspector general.
- The firing, which likely eliminates any chance at promotion, was in response to last summer’s deadly AAV accident.
- The accident killed eight Marines and a Navy sailor, making it the deadliest AAV accident in history.
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The US Marine Corps has fired a two-star general, likely eliminating any chance of ever receiving another promotion, after he was found responsible for some of the failures leading up to a deadly assault amphibious vehicle accident that killed nine people.
Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi, formerly the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, was suspended last month from his job as inspector general of the Marine Corps.
“He will not return to that position,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Andrew Wood said in a statement Wednesday, adding that Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger “took adverse administration action against him.”
Wood revealed that the commandant “personally and formally counseled him for his failure to properly train the Marines and Sailors for whom he was entrusted and for the inadequate evaluation of the AAV Platoon before it was attached to the 15th MEU.”
Last July, an AAV assigned to Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sank off the coast of California as it returned to the amphibious transport dock USS Somerset from San Clemente Island.
The mishap vehicle was carrying three AAV crewmembers, 12 Marines, and one Navy corpsman. Eight embarked Marines and the Navy sailor died, making this incident the deadliest AAV training accident in the vehicle’s history.
A command investigation indicated that Castellvi bore some responsibility for the accident because he failed to complete a readiness evaluation that might have identified problems before disaster struck.
The head of Marine Corps Forces Pacific did not take any disciplinary action against Castellvi though, raising questions about the Corps’ commitment to accountability.
In the aftermath of the first investigation, the Marine Corps launched another investigation to uncover more details about the failures that occurred in the lead up to the accident. The results of that investigation have been delivered to the commandant.
“We will never hesitate – legal or on the other side – to relieve a commander if we’ve lost trust and confidence, but I needed to understand in greater depth about how that MEU was composited, which I now know,” Berger told reporters recently.
Responding to Insider’s questions about failures to ensure troops had the necessary training, specifically the knowledge of how to escape a sinking amtrac, Berger said that “there are no excuses for not getting the whole unit through the required training. None.”
The disciplinary actions taken against Castellvi essentially end his career.
“The Commandant’s decision is part of Maj. Gen. Castellvi’s permanent record, and must be considered if he is evaluated for promotion, retention, or roles of responsibility,” Wood said.
He explained that “this action typically prevents an officer from being promoted or serving in a role where he/she would be charged with the responsibility of caring for Marines and Sailors.”
Other officers have also been disciplined. Lt. Col. Michael Regner, commanding officer of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, was relieved last fall, and Col. Christopher Bronzi, commanding officer of the 15th MEU, was relieved in March.