Marines conduct assault amphibious vehicle training during ship-to-shore operations at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 19, 2017.

Marines conduct assault amphibious vehicle training during ship-to-shore operations at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 19, 2017. Sgt. Clemente Garcia

Marine General Punished For Training, Evaluation Failures Before Deadly Accident

Commandant’s decision may end Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi’s career.

Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger has taken “adverse administrative actions” against Maj. Gen. Robert Castellvi for his failures leading up to last year’s deadly sinking of an amphibious assault vehicle.

The discipline comes after a recently completed second investigation delved into the issues and failures that led up to the sinking and the levels of commands involved.  The investigation has not yet been released. It was unclear at press time whether any other officers will also be punished.

Castellvi was the former commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, which was in charge of the amphibious assault vehicle platoon before it became part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. As part of the MEU, the amphibious assault vehicle sank last July while training ahead of an upcoming deployment, killing nine off the California coast.

On May 3, Berger suspended Castellvi from serving as the Marine Corps Inspector General until the second investigation wrapped up. Berger is not allowing Castellvi to return as the IG, according to a Marine Corps statement.

Berger has also “personally and formally counseled [Castellvi] 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,” the statement said.

The families of the eight Marines and sailor who died have been told of the commandant’s decision against Castellvi, the Marine Corps said.

The punishment is part of Castellvi’s permanent record and may lead to the end of his military career; because it usually prevents an officer from being promoted or placed in jobs that make them in charge of Marines and sailors.

Castellvi is not providing a statement at this time, the Marine Corps said.

The second investigation is not the last to examine the events that led up to the accident. The Navy’s Third Fleet has also launched an investigation, while and a “blue ribbon” panel is being organized to broadly examine amphibious operations for the Navy and Marine Corps. In May, Marine Corps staff director Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson told lawmakers that the deadly accident may indicate that the service has lost “some of our amphibious edge.”