Marines sack commanding officer after training accident killed 9 in July

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A commanding officer at Camp Pendleton was relieved of duty Tuesday, months after eight Marines and a sailor were killed when a landing craft sank in hundreds of feet of water off the Southern California coast.

Lt. Col. Michael Regner will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, commanding general, Marine Expeditionary Force.

An amphibious assault vehicle took on water and sank in 385 feet of water as it headed back to a Navy ship after completing routine training on July 30, according to military reports.

Nine service members were killed and later were found during underwater salvage operations.


The craft sank less than a mile from San Clemente Island off the coast of San Diego. 

All were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at nearby Camp Pendleton. They ranged in age from 19 to early 30s and all were wearing combat gear, including body armor, and flotation vests.

The dead were identified earlier this week as: Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin; U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon; and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California.

The investigation is ongoing.

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