Three U.S. Marine officers relieved of duty after training fatalities

May 9, 2013 at 1:43 PM

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., May 9 (UPI) -- Three U.S. Marine Corps officers were relieved of duty after a March training exercise in Nevada killed seven enlisted men, the Marine Corps confirmed Thursday.

The enlisted Marines, from the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, died March 18 when a 60-millimeter mortar exploded in a firing tube during a night-time exercise at the Hawthorne Army Depot, south of Reno, Nev., the Los Angeles Times reported.

Relieved of command by Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, were Lt. Col. Andrew McNulty, commander of the 1-9; Capt. Kelby Breivogel, commander of Alpha Company, and Chief Warrant Officer-3 Douglas Derring, the battalion infantry weapons officer.

"The investigation [into the incident] is not complete, but the preliminary findings did influence the general's decision," said 1st Lt. Oliver David, spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.

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