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Probe finds leadership failures in Marine's death during training at Camp Pendleton

April 14, 2011 |  4:43 pm

A Marine Corps investigation into a training accident at Camp Pendleton in which a sergeant drowned inside an amphibious assault vehicle has found mechanical problems with the vehicle, "nonstandard" training and a lack of sufficient oversight by battalion leaders.

Among other things, Brig. Gen. Michael M. Brogan, commanding general of the training command, has ordered the commander of the assault amphibian schools battalion relieved of duty, the Marine Corps announced Thursday.

The incident occurred Jan. 14, when an assault vehicle sank in the Del Mar Boat Basin at Camp Pendleton. Five Marines were able to escape.

But Sgt. Wesley Rice, 27, an instructor, was trapped inside. After being pulled from the vehicle, he was airlifted to a trauma center and pronounced dead.

After the incident, Brogan convened a board of inquiry. Brogan has ordered "remedial or administrative action be taken to correct deficiencies within the battalion staff."

Rice deployed to Iraq twice and received a Combat Action Ribbon for having been under fire and returning fire.

--Tony Perry in San Diego