SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) – Marine Corps Inspector General Major General Robert Castellvi has been suspended amid ongoing investigations into the fatal sinking of a sea tank last summer off the coast of the southern California coast, a newspaper reported Monday.
Nine men died in the crash involving an amphibious assault vehicle on July 30 near San Clemente Island.
Castellvi becomes the highest-ranking officer to face discipline in multiple inquiries into the disaster, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. His suspension was announced by the Deputy Commander of the Marine Corps Commander during a hearing before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on readiness on Monday.
General David Berger, the commander of the Marine Corps, ordered the suspension last week pending the outcome of the investigation, the newspaper said.
Castellvi was the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton until September. He was named in a previous investigation as someone who had some responsibility for the accident. However, the Marines did not punish him.
The commanders of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the battalion’s landing team involved in the crash were both relieved of their command and seven other Marines faced further administrative or disciplinary action, said the Marines.
The Marine Corps said last year’s crash was caused by mechanical breakdowns, lousy maintenance, inadequate training and poor judgment by commanders.
The Marines use the vehicles to transport troops and their equipment from Navy ships to land. Armored vehicles equipped with machine guns and grenade launchers look like tanks when rolled on land.