Top officer opens fire at Marine infantry battalion in California

Top officer opens fire at Marine infantry battalion in California

The commander of an infantry battalion in California was relieved of command Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Christopher O’Melia has been relieved of his duties as commander of 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment by Maj. Gen. Benjamin Watson, commander of the 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Lucas Burke announced. In a statement to the Marine Corps Times on Monday.

Mr. Burke said Mr. Watson relieved Mr. O’Melia of his duties because he “lost confidence and ability to continue in that position,” without providing further details.

“There is no more sacred position in this division than commanding officer,” Watson said in a statement. “Our Marines and Sailors deserve the best leadership the Marine Corps has to offer, and I am committed to providing them with the leadership they deserve.”

Lt. Col. Jonathan Wagner is a former Marine who previously served as an operations officer with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, recently deployed to a Marine rotational unit in Southeast Asia, and currently serves as commander of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. There is.

In 2020, the same infantry battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Michael Regner, was relieved of his command following an amphibious assault vehicle accident that killed eight Marines and a Navy sergeant in his unit.

O’Melia took command of an infantry unit based at Camp Pendleton, California, in June 2023, according to a photo from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. Each infantry battalion is made up of over 800 Marines.

Marine Corps Times attempted to contact O’Melia via email but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

O’Melia’s official biography is not listed on the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines website.

As a major, O’Melia commanded the Los Angeles Recruiting Base from at least 2019 to 2021, receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his service there.

Eileen Lowenson is a staff reporter at Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an Editorial Fellow in her August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College and served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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