The Marine Corps have fired a two-star general following the training accident last summer that left eight Marines and one Navy sailor dead.
Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi was found to be responsible for some of the failures that led up to the deadliest AAV accident in Corps history.
Castellvi was reportedly first suspended last month from his position as inspector general of the Marine Corps.
The accident happened 70 miles off the coast of San Diego, and is believed to have been preventable.
A spokesman for the Marine Corps stated the commandant “personally and formally counseled him for his failure to properly train the Marines and Sailors for whom he was entrusted and for the inadequate evaluation of the AAV Platoon before it was attached to the 15th MEU.”
Investigators found the accident, which occurred on July 30 last year, was the result of inadequate training, questionable maintenance of the decades-old amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) and commanders’ bad judgement.
“During the return transit, water began to enter the mishap AAV through multiple points of leakage, the transmission failed, bilge pumps were unable to expel water rapidly enough due to the transmission failure, and the AAV began to sink. The vehicle commander gave the distress signal, known as a ‘November flag,’ but no safety boats were in the water, and it took approximately 20 minutes for another AAV to arrive to assist,” the Corps explained.
“The mishap AAV was slowly sinking for approximately 45 minutes before the other AAV with embarked personnel pulled alongside. The mishap AAV crew prepared to evacuate embarked personnel by opening a hatch on the top of the vehicle. The AAVs collided, causing the mishap AAV to turn broadside to a swell. A large wave swept over the mishap AAV, in which water entered the troop compartment through the open hatch, and caused the mishap AAV to rapidly sink with eleven personnel on board.”via American Military News
There are several key mistakes made by Castellvi that, if corrected, may have prevented the devastating accident.
Not only were the service members untrained on how to escape from a sinking amtrac, Castellvi also failed to complete a readiness evaluation that was designed to find issues before the training event began.
Castellvi’s career is as good as finished following the disciplinary actions taken against him.
“I am pleased to learn that the Marine Corps has held Maj. Gen. Castellvi accountable for his completely inadequate performance as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division. It is my view that his failures in ensuring the Marines under his charge were adequately trained prior to joining the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit were a direct and contributing factor to the tragic loss of eight Marines and one Navy Corpsman last July,” stated Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.