Infantry Battalion CO Relieved after Fatal July AAV Sinking; Investigations Continue - USNI News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  flynavy1  •  one week ago  •  10 comments

By:    By: Gidget Fuentes (USNI News)

Infantry Battalion CO Relieved after Fatal July AAV Sinking; Investigations Continue - USNI News
The commander of a Marine battalion landing team that lost nine men when an AAV sunk off San Clemente Island, Calif., during a training exercise in July, I Marine Expeditionary Force announced late Tuesday. Lt. Col. Michael Regner was relieved of command of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, "due to a loss in …

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By: Gidget Fuentes October 13, 2020 10:40 PM

Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, operate AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicles while embarking the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) on July 27, 2020. US Navy Photo

The commander of a Marine battalion landing team that lost nine men when an AAV sunk off San Clemente Island, Calif., during a training exercise in July, I Marine Expeditionary Force announced late Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Michael Regner was relieved of command of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, "due to a loss in trust and confidence in his ability to command as a result of the amphibious assault vehicle mishap" on July 30, I MEF officials said in a news release.

One Navy hospital corpsman and eight Marine infantrymen with B Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, died when the AAV they were riding in sank in about 385-foot deep water as the vehicle returned to transport dock USS Somerset (LPD-25). Eight Marines, including the vehicle crew of three, were pulled from or able to get out of the vehicle before the 26-ton amtrac sank; one of those Marines later died.

Regner is an infantry officer with several combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who has led the Camp Pendleton, Calif-based battalion since January 2019, according to his official biography.

Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, who took command of I MEF on July 31, made the decision to relieve Regner even as the investigations into the mishap continue.

Lt. Col. Michael Regner

"Although the Command Investigation has compiled a substantial amount of information and data which formed the basis for General Heckl's decision, it is still ongoing as the Marine Corps continues to investigate, assess all relevant information, and take appropriate actions," I MEF officials said in the release.

The mishap happened as BLT 1/4 - it's a reinforced infantry battalion that's the ground combat element for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit - was wrapping up amphibious training on San Clemente Island with the Makin Island Expeditionary Strike Group ahead of a planned overseas deployment.

Killed in the mishap were: Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, Calif., Cpls. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas, and Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, Calif.; Lance Cpls. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, Calif., Guillermo S. Perez, 19, of New Braunfels, Texas, and Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Ore.; and Pfcs. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, Calif., Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisc., and Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Ore. Navy and contracted salvage teams using submersibles recovered their bodies and the AAV a week later.

Remains of Marines and sailor killed in AAV incident arrive in Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Aug 12, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

The following is the complete statement from I MEF.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2020) - Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, relieved Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, Commanding Officer, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit today. Heckl relieved Regner due to a loss in trust and confidence in his ability to command as a result of the assault amphibious vehicle mishap that took place off the coast of Southern California July 30, 2020.

Although the Command Investigation has compiled a substantial amount of information and data which formed the basis for Heckl's decision, it is still ongoing as the Marine Corps continues to investigate, assess all relevant information, and take appropriate actions.

The battalion landing team, a reinforced infantry battalion, is the ground combat element of the MEU, and consists of three rifle companies, along with artillery, light-armored reconnaissance, assault amphibian, and combat engineer attachments. These elements are readily available to the MEU commander to project ground combat power from ship-to-shore.

The Marines and Sailors of the 15th MEU continue to train in preparation for crisis and contingency response.

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FLYNAVY1
1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    one week ago

This is a follow up story from a number of weeks ago.  Go figure.... They relieved the C.O. of the unit.

What is new is that they were trying to "Recover" the AAV when the sinking occurred.  Originally I thought it was when it was being launched.  I have to wonder what kind of drugs they have to get my Marine brothers to take to take a ride in a 25-ton boat anchor?  You guys are braver than I thought!

Regards and thoughts for the families.....! 

 
 
 
Sparty On
2  Sparty On    one week ago

Bummer, never like to see things like this but he was the old man when this happened and is responsible.     As we know, just how command works, like it or not.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3  seeder  FLYNAVY1    one week ago

Sparty.... Didn't you tell me you took some rides in these coffins years back?

This thing went under during recovery...... As dangerous as launching?  I figure the latter would be worse or is being swamped possible at any time?  Do tell.

 
 
 
Sparty On
3.1  Sparty On  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3    6 days ago

Give me a LCAC any day

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
3.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3    6 days ago

As usual, the USMC is stuck with the shittiest equipment and the shittiest vehicles. 

Our official motto is Semper Fidelis, always faithful. 

The unofficial motto is "adapt and overcome", because we get the garbage that the other services don't want and are then expected to succeed where they fail. 

 
 
 
Kavika
4  Kavika     one week ago

Thanks for the follow up on this story. 

I kind of figured that the top Marine in the battalion would be on the hook. Right or wrong it is the way it is.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
5  Thrawn 31    6 days ago

Sorry sir, maybe the Navy will at some point realize that the Corps needs money to buy shit that isn't 50 fucking years old and Marines won't have to double as field mechanics every 10 minutes. Seriously, the US government LOVES the image of the USMC, but will be goddamned before the Corps gets what they need. 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5    4 days ago

I got to admit the truth of your posts.   When I took my first carrier ride in 1982, the Marines were still doing their carrier quals in F-4s.  Even today I think the majority of "C" version of the Hornets are driven by Marines which date back as far as 1986 deliveries.  I count five squadrons still flying the Cs. 

I can't speak for the Mud-Marines, but I do know that the aviation types are receiving significant numbers of the F-35Bs.  As of Jan2020, they had 83 of their VSTOL Bs in the hands of their aviators with another 18 for delivery in 2020.  My count is four squadrons of the 35Bs.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
5.1.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @5.1    3 days ago

No branch is shit on more than the USMC. And yet we are the most honored. 
Semper Fi

 
 
 
Sparty On
5.1.2  Sparty On  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.1.1    3 days ago

First to fight with hand me down equipment from the Army ...... Oorah!

Although it's much better now than it was ....

 
 
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