WASHINGTON — Two Marine staff sergeants accused of urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters are facing charges for that and other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, according to the Marine Corps.
Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin and Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola, both with the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, were charged Friday with several violations of the UCMJ for misconduct during a counterinsurgency operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 27, 2011.
Among the charges: dereliction of duty for failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to stop indiscriminate firing of weapons, and failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, according to Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman.
Deptola is also charged with “wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun” and failing to stop the unnecessary damage of Afghan compounds, Gibson said.
The Marine Corps launched an investigation into the incident after a video posted on YouTube in January showed several Marines laughing and appearing to urinate on the bodies of dead insurgents. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Marines’ behavior “utterly deplorable.”
Three Marines were given nonjudicial punishments after they admitted to posing with the bodies, filming the incident and failing to report the incident. The names of those Marines were not released.
Some related cases are still pending, the Marine Corps said, and additional disciplinary actions will be announced later.