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Marines Fire Commander In Charge Of Unit Where Nine Died

Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, who was relieved of command of Battalion Landing ...

Credit: Department of Defense

Above: Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, who was relieved of command of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, speaks at a memorial ceremony August 21, 2020, for the nine who died in July.

The Marines have fired the commander of the unit where eight Marines and a sailor were killed in an amphibious assault vehicle, or AAV, accident over the summer.

Reported by Steve Walsh

The accident happened July 30, during an exercise off the coast of San Clemente Island. The investigation into why the armored landing craft sank has not finished but the Marines fired Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, who was in charge of the Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, which is part of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

A U.S. Defense Department video shows Regner speaking at a memorial ceremony in August at Camp Pendleton, for the nine troops who died.

“We need that courage to face our future challenges,” he said. "We can take comfort to know that path of courage is lit by the flame of that each one of these heroes has lit in our heart.”

RELATED: Remains Of Seven Marines And Sailor Recovered After Training Accident

The commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, relieved Regner, citing a loss of trust and confidence in his ability. Relieving Regner is a sign that investigators are getting close to determining why the AAV abruptly sank, surrounded by other craft.

In the meantime, the commandant of the Marine Corps have suspended all water operations involving the armored personnel carrier.


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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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