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A staff noncommissioned officer with a scout-sniper unit at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will be tried Wednesday on eight counts tied to an incident caught on video showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in 2011, the Marine Corps announced.
Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola, who is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, will appear at a special court-martial expected to last one day, according to Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., which ordered the trial.
The Marine Corps has charged Deptola with being derelict in his duties for failing to properly supervise junior Marines, require they wear their proper personal protective equipment, stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons and stop unnecessary damage of Afghan compounds an, MCCDC officials said in a statement. He also is accused of indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.
A 39-second video surfaced Jan. 10, 2012, showing the urination incident during a counter-insurgency operation near Sandala, in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province in July 2011. The video went viral on the Internet, and an initial investigation identified four Marines seen in the video. Top military leaders, including the Marine Corps commandant, quickly condemned the actions depicted in the video.
The MCCDC commander, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, in September referred Deptola's case to court-martial. "There are other pending cases related to this incident," Col. Sean Gibson, a MCCDC spokesman, said in a statement.
Deptola is the latest of several several NCOs and staff NCOs assigned or attached to 3/2 the Marine Corps who have pleaded guilty to charges in connection to their roles in the incident.
Two NCOs and one staff NCO, who the Marine Corps did not identify, received nonjudicial punishment while Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, pleaded guilty in December at a special court-martial at Camp Lejeune on charges of derelection of duty for failing to properly supervise junior Marines and for posing for photographs with human casualties.
In a plea deal, Chamblin was reduced to the rank of sergeant and ordered to forfeit $500 in pay for one month.