Top Marine generals fired for deadly Camp Bastion attack

Gurganus' nomination before the Senate Armed Services Committee to be promoted to Lieutenant General has been rescinded, while Sturdevant was given an official letter of reprimand by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"The Commandant has asked both generals, in spite of long and distinguished careers, to retire," according to a Marine Corps statement issued Monday. 

The order is the first time since the Vietnam War that a top American commander was fired for failing to protect U.S. forces in combat. 

Gurganus, who was the top service commander in the region at the time of the attack, “failed to exercise the level of judgment expected of commanders of their rank,” Amos said in the statement. 

The three-star general, "made an error in judgment when conducting his risk assessment of the enemy’s capabilities and intentions" during his time in command at the UK-run Camp Bastion and the adjoining Marine Corps base, dubbed Camp Leatherneck.  

“While I am mindful of the degree of difficulty the Marines in Afghanistan faced in accomplishing a demanding combat mission with a rapidly declining force . . . responsibility and accountability are the sacred tenets of commandership," Amos added.

Several Taliban gunmen, wearing U.S. Army uniforms, launched a daring suicide attack against Camp Bastion, the United Kingdom's largest military outpost in southern Afghanistan in September 2012. 

American and NATO troops were able to kill all but one of the attackers and repel the Taliban assault, but not before the attackers were able to overrun the base's outer perimeter and destroy six AV-8B Harrier fighter jets stationed at Bastion. 

Even though Bastion was under British command, Sturdevant "remained responsible for assessing vulnerabilities" to the service fighter jets stationed at U.K. forward operating base. 

Sturdevant was the Corps' senior aviation officer at Bastion and Leatherneck at the time of the attack.

“Marines can never place complete reliance for their own safety in the hands of another force,” Amos said. 

Two U.S. Marines, Lt.Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, were also killed and eight others were wounded in the brazen attack. 

While Amos acknowledged the attack was a brutal reminder of the "challenging mission" Marines in southern Afghanistan are facing, Gurganus and "bore final accountability for the lives and equipment under his charge," Amos added.