The Marine Corps Times reports that LTC Andrew McNulty, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, at Camp Lejeune, NC was relieved along with two other officers by BG James Lukeman, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division for the explosion during a mortar live fire exercise in Utah several weeks back which claimed the lives of CPL Aaron J. Ripperda, 26, 19; LCPL David P. Fenn II, 20; LCPL Roger W. Muchnick Jr., 23; LCPL Joshua C. Taylor, 21; LCPL Mason J. Vanderwork, 21; LCPL William T. Wild IV, 21; and PFC Joshua M. Martino.
McNulty, who assumed command of the battalion less than a year ago, was relieved due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion,” Koerner said. The battalion’s executive officer, Maj. Thomas Siverts, will oversee the unit until a new commander is selected, Koerner said. That is expected to take several weeks, he added.
The battalion is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan at the end of this year. The leadership shakeup is not expected to affect those plans, Koerner said.
Unless they found a systemic maintenance issue in the battalion, I don’t know what the commander could have done to prevent the accident.
But there have been a lot of firings of officers in recent weeks. For example, 17 Air Force officers were relieved at Minot Air Force Base for “rot” in the nuclear force says WDAZ, and there’s no explanation of those firings either.
The tip-off to trouble was a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which earned the equivalent of a “D’ grade when tested on its mastery of Minuteman III missile launch operations. In other areas, the officers tested much better, but the group’s overall fitness was deemed so tenuous that senior officers at Minot decided, after probing further, that an immediate crackdown was called for.
The Air Force publicly called the inspection a “success.”
But in April it quietly removed 17 officers at Minot from the highly sensitive duty of standing 24-hour watch over the Air Force’s most powerful nuclear missiles, the intercontinental ballistic missiles that can strike targets across the globe. Inside each underground launch control capsule, two officers stand “alert” at all times, ready to launch an ICBM upon presidential order.
How hard is it to pass a readiness test? Do fingers fit red button. Check. Can officer push the red button? Check. Pass.
Thanks to SJ for the link to the USMC story.