Modified: November 17, 2022

Marine Amphibious Craft Go Back into Protected Waters

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Questions Over Safety Keep Coming Up

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The United States Marine Corps has introduced amphibious vehicles, which completed their first ship to shore and shore to ship in April 2022 at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. This comes on the heels of more toxic exposure revelations at Camp Pendleton and PACT Act claims over Camp Lejeune.

On July 19, 2022, during water-based training exercises, southern hemisphere storms sent waves from Tahiti and Hawaii, disabling the amphibious combat vehicles (ACV) from the 3rd assault amphibian battalion while forcing the second one to roll over. Although there were no injuries to the military personnel, the US Marine Corps suspended all further ACV waterborne operations for its amphibious combat vehicle until investigation results to find out what happened.

The deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking to the Marine Corps times, stated the pause on the new landing craft waterborne operations would give US Marine Corps enough time to investigate the incident. It would help them and the Assault Amphibian Community to determine the next steps.

Although the disabled ACVs caused disappointment in the Marine Corps, the quick action taken by the Marines aboard the disabled ACVs showed how effective their training was.

The Marine Corps announced on July 19, 2022, that the headquarters Marine Corps has only allowed ACVs to operate in protected waters while land operations remain unaffected.

ACV Water Operations Restricted to Protected Waters in 2021 As Well

July 19, 2022, incident wasn’t the first of its kind. On September 3, 2021, Marine Corps service spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger spoke to the media about an incident with one of their ACVs. A fault in the ACV’s towing mechanism resulted in a pause in amphibious combat vehicle operations to determine the cause and fix the root problem.

Speaking to the Marine Corps Times, the service spokesperson stated that the Headquarters Marine Corps remains committed to ensuring their Marines train in the safest conditions possible.

Deadliest Amphibious Combat Vehicle Accident in Marine Corps History

Operation pauses are becoming more common after the incident in July 2020 that became the deadliest Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV). During training operations off the coast of San Clemente Island, California, the AAV sank, leading to eight Marines’s and one sailor’s deaths.

Upon investigations, the US Marine Corps found two reasons for the unfortunate incident. First, the AAV had two leaks, and the transmission failed. The AAV sank quicker by the minute resulting in the deaths of its crew members.

Although there were issues with the AAV, what’s concerning is that the investigations showed that the marines did not follow standard operating procedures for amphibious operations. The crew members had no prior training in handling emergencies in an AAV. It was a requirement ignored by all before setting into the water.

Due to the deadly accident, Col. Christopher J. Bronzi was fired from the US Marine Corps for “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.” The commanding general, Robert Castellvi, was relieved of duty as inspector general. In October 2020, the Battalion Landing Team commanding officer was also laid off, replaced by Lt. Col. Keith Brenize at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Latest Incident Raises Concerns: Have the Marines Not Learned from their Past Mistakes?

Previous four investigations suggested that the AAV’s drowning showed some of the factors involved, including lack of training and poorly maintained vehicles, suggesting that the sinking was “preventable.” However, the recent 2022 ACV from the 3rd assault amphibian battalion sinking incident sparked concerns that the Marines learned little after the drowning incident.

Michael McDowell, a military security advocate, lost his son in 2019 during a rollover at Camp Pendleton. When the 2022 ACV drowning incident occurred, the National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory. McDowell wanted to know why the Marines decided to hit the waters when there was a security alert for bad weather conditions in San Diego and Orange counties.

Speaking to the Marine Corps times, the US Marine Corps spokesman argued that although vehicles are the same, the Marines noted that the battalion commanders received a reprimand for their negligence and violation of the SOPs.

Suffered Serious Injuries While Training? Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

At Ehline Law, our personal injury attorneys are advocates of greater safety during training and greater accountability of the leaders after any unfortunate event.

If you suffered injuries during your training or lost someone in the military due to another’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation under the VA disabilities and benefits. Contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may qualify for compensation.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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