Marine Harrier pilot Col. Roger T. McDuffie was on a temporary assignment in Colombia with several other Marines. An initial investigation found that some of the Marines broke curfew and brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms, who then robbed the Marines of sensitive government property.
A military board convened on Jan. 11 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, found that McDuffie was guilty of subpar performance and “failure to demonstrate acceptable qualities of leadership required of an officer in the member’s grade,” Marine spokeswoman Gina Levy told the Herald. “The board recommended involuntary retirement, in grade.”
However, the case is not over. A final determination over the fate of McDuffie’s career will be made by Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer.
Aaron Meyer, an attorney representing McDuffie, claims that the colonel was drugged at a bar and grill commonly frequented by U.S. embassy staff, the Herald reported. The night resulted in the slew of bad decisions, including heavy drinking, prostitutes and visiting areas off limits to military personnel.
Because of the drugging, Meyer argued, McDuffie was not legally responsible for his actions.
Two other Marines involved in the incident were also investigated. Marine Maj. Andrew L. Mueller was found guilty of Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 92 regarding dereliction of duty, but it was recommended he be retained, according to the Herald.
Maj. Mauricio Saenz retired instead of facing a board at Parris Island, South Carolina.
“Maj. Saenz requested to resign, and it was approved,” Leavy told the Herald. However, Spencer will still have a final say in cases involving Mueller and Saenz.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.