The top enlisted leader of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines has been relieved after Marines raised disturbing questions about discrepancies in his official biography.
Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Lovell III was removed from his post as the infantry battalion's sergeant major on Monday March 23 due to a loss of confidence, said 1st Lt. Luke Kuper, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force. Lovell's unit is currently attached to 4th Marines on a Unit Deployment Program rotation to Okinawa, Japan.
"Errors in Lovell's official biography were brought to the Marine Corps' attention in a blog post on March 19, 2015," Kuper said in a statement. "The official biography has been updated to reflect Lovell's service record. The Marine Corps works to ensure the accuracy of all public information and will correct inaccuracies when present."
Lovell is being sent back to his parent command at 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Kuper said.
The sergeant major He did not respond to an emailed request for comment from Marine Corps Times.
At issue are two claims Lovell made in his official biography that critics say are undeserved: a third award of the Combat Action Ribbon they say that could not be explained by his service record, and a claim to have been the honor graduate of his scout sniper basic course, 3-98, in 1998. In fact, sources say, the honor graduate was then-Cpl. corporal Aaron Pine, a Marine who died in 2005 following an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps.
The Combat Action Ribbon can only be awarded once per combat theater. While Lovell, who enlisted in 1993, had deployments to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marines questioned his claim of seeing combat action in another theater during two Marine expeditionary deployments to the Mediterranean in the late 1990s.
The allegations against Lovell were first reported on Thursday by Chris Mark in the Global Security, Privacy & Risk Management Blog March 19. Following the publication of the blog post, the Marine Corps quietly changed Lovell's official biography online, removing mention of a third combat action ribbon award — although his official service photo still displays it — along with and removed his claim to be honor graduate.
Also removed was Lovell's claim to have deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian and to Lebanon in support of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Mark, a former Marine infantryman and scout sniper, said that his blog post had received about 100,000 views within the first 72 hours after posting.
Marines in the scout sniper community who reached out to Marine Corps Times said the inquiry into Lovell's record came after someone noticed the "honor graduate" title in his biography and questioned it, passing the info to another Marine who was had been in the scout sniper course and discredited the information.
Others, who asked not to be named, said the push for answers rose out of indignation on behalf of Pine and his family.
This is what started it," said one Marine, who sent a photograph of Pine's scout sniper course honor graduate award. "Protecting a dead Marine's legacy."