Marines holding disciplinary hearings this week in sinking of amphibious ship

The Marine Corps this week is holding disciplinary hearings for two leaders involved in a deadly sinking of an amphibious assault vehicle off the Southern California coast in 2020.

Lt. Col. Michael Regner, the former commanding officer of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, on Tuesday is facing a board of inquiry on the accident at Camp Pendleton, Calif., according to the Marine Corps.

The hearing was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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The board of inquiry is scheduled through Friday.

Also at Camp Pendleton, an administrative separation board will gather to scrutinize the unnamed former platoon sergeant of the Bravo Company platoon, which was involved in the deadly accident.

Eight Marines and one Navy sailor were killed on July 30, 2020, when their vehicle quickly sank in 385 feet of water off the coast of San Clemente Island while training with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The vehicle — which can weigh roughly 26 tons and was carrying 16 people — sank after it began to take on water while traveling from the island to its transport dock ship after an exercise. 

A Marine Corps investigation later found that the vessel was one of several that experienced mechanical problems on the island and as it tried to return its transmission failed. Water then began to fill the vehicle, but its commander waited too long to order service members to evacuate. 

The investigation also found that Regner — who was relieved from command in October 2020 as a result of the accident — should have known the vehicles were unsound and should not have been used in the ocean.