General James Amos, head of the US Marine Corps has ordered two generals to retire because they failed to defend Camp Bastion in Afghanistan from a Taliban attack.
He said Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant “did not take adequate force protection measures” to stop the 2012 assault.
Two Marines died and eight other personnel were wounded.
The Taliban also destroyed six Marine Harrier fighter jets and badly damaged several others.
Fourteen of the 15 attackers were killed and one was captured. US Marines and UK Royal Air Force gunners were involved in the counter-attack.
In June, Gen Amos asked US Central Command to carry out an investigation and said he decided to take action against the two generals after reviewing the results of that inquiry.
Endorsing the inquiry’s findings, Gen. James Amos wrote: “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, my duty requires me to remain true to the timeless axioms relating to command responsibility and accountability.”
He added that Gen. Charles Gurganus bore “final accountability” for the lives and equipment under his command, and had made “an error in judgment” in underestimating the risk posed by the Taliban in the Bastion area of Helmand province.
Gen. James Amos said that Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant – who was in charge of Marine aviation in the region – “did not adequately assess the force protection situation”.
He asked both men to retire on Monday, speaking personally to Gen. Charles Gurganus at the Pentagon and by video conference to Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, a Marine Corps official told Reuters news agency.
Both men agreed to the request, the official added.
Gen. James Amos also recommended to the Navy secretary that Gen. Charles Gurganus’ nomination for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General be rescinded and that Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant receive a letter of censure.
Correspondents say it is a rare public reprimand of senior US military officers.
Following the announcement, Gen. Charles Gurganus issued a brief statement saying he felt privileged to have served in the Marine Corps for 37 years.
“I will treasure that forever. I have complete trust and confidence in the leadership of our Corps and fully respect the decision of our commandant,” he said.
Bastion is one of the biggest camps in Afghanistan with a perimeter of 22 miles.