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Marine Who Won Court Hazing Decision Faces Discharge

The main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base is shown in this undated photo.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / LENNY IGNELZI

Above: The main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base is shown in this undated photo.

The Marine who won a ruling in a major West Coast hazing case now faces being kicked out of the Marine Corps.

In February, a military appeals court judge threw out the case against Sgt. Jamie Ortiz, of 1st Combat Engineer Battalion at Camp Pendleton. The judge admonished Maj. Gen. Eric Smith of the 1st Marine Division, saying the case had become personal. The commander ordered a crackdown on hazing that swept up 30 Marines in his command.

The Marines confirmed Ortiz has been notified that he now faces separation from the Marine Corps.

His civilian attorney, Aaron Meyer, said in an email that he is filing paperwork to stop Ortiz from being discharged. He said the Corps' trying to “save face.”

Ortiz has an otherwise spotless record and the effort to discharge him is based on “revenge,” he said.

Because Ortiz is just shy of six years in the USMC, he is not explicitly entitled to a hearing. His command also continues to restrict his movements, confining him on board Camp Pendleton.

Marine spokesman Lt. Paul Gainey the judge’s ruling “does not preclude the Marine Corps from further administrative action.” The decision to discharge him was based on an investigation report submitted to the commander of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which concluded Ortiz was guilty of hazing. So far, 18 of the Marines caught up in the hazing probe have been discharged from the Marine Corps, Gainey said.

Sgt. Jamie Ortiz remains restricted on board Camp Pendleton, even after a ruling that threw out his case in a major crackdown on hazing ordered by the commander of the 1st Marine Division.

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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