- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Marine Corps colonel has been fired eight months after eight Marines and a sailor died when their amphibious assault vehicle sank during a training exercise off the coast of San Clemente Island, Calif.

Marine Corps Col. Christopher J. Bronzi was fired from his job as commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command,” said Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, commander of U.S. Marine Corps forces in the Pacific theater.

On July 30, 2020, the vehicle began taking on water during a training exercise prior to the unit‘s deployment to the Pacific and the Middle East. Marine Corps officials said eight infantrymen and a Navy hospital corpsman were aboard when it sank in almost 400 feet of water while they were returning to the amphibious transport dock ship, the USS Somerset. Several Marines were able to escape before the vessel sank.

Col. Fridrik Fridriksson has assumed command of the 15th MEU following the firing. He had previously commanded the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, officials said.

The Marine Corps has completed the investigation into the fatal training mishap, but the findings will not be released to the public until after the family members of the victims have been notified, Corps officials said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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