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US Marine Corps takes additional action against senior leader over amphibious vehicle accident that killed nine

One of the US Marine Corps' senior leaders won't return to his previous role as Inspector General of the Marines after additional disciplinary action was tak...

Posted: Jun 9, 2021 1:02 PM

One of the US Marine Corps' senior leaders won't return to his previous role as Inspector General of the Marines after additional disciplinary action was taken against him for his role in an amphibious vehicle training accident last July off the coast of southern California that left nine people dead.

Major General Robert F. Castellvi, the former Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division which is the division of the Marine Corps where the accident occurred, was originally suspended from serving as the Inspector General in May. It's now been permanently decided he will not return to that role, the Marine Corps said in a press release.

Marine Corps leaders told Congress the accident was "preventable" in May.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps also took "adverse administration action" against Castellvi. The Commandant "personally and formally counseled him for his failure to properly train the Marines and Sailors," and for the "inadequate evaluation" of the AAV Platoon before it was attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the US Marine Corps press office said in a statement.

The accident occurred when an AAV sank near San Clemente Island on July 30, 2020 during a 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group routine training exercise. The unit commander and several others were fired after a Marine Corps investigation found that a series of human and mechanical failures led to the sinking of the vehicle.

Assistant Commandant to the Marine Corps General Gary Thomas told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing in May that "11 people were fired" after the investigation into the incident.

"The majority of those 11 are being considered for separation from the service, and some have had lesser discipline taken against them," Thomas said.

The additional disciplinary action taken by the Marine Corps against Castellvi is another step in the ongoing aftermath of this incident, which Thomas described as a "failure from the beginning" to Congress in May.

Investigators found that "some 54% of the vehicles that were inspected had failures in the water-tight integrity of their plenum doors, that's the large intakes on the front that permit air to come in and out of an engine that's underwater," Olson said.

The decision that Castellvi will not to return to his previous role will go on his "permanent record," the Marine Corps press office said. This decision must be "considered if he is evaluated" for any kind of promotion or role of responsibility within the Marine Corps.

"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," the press office said in a statement.

The investigation which influenced the decision for these consequences is "not yet complete," but the US Marine Corps will "release it" when it is, the press office said.

Castellvi did not provide a statement.

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