The commanding officer and sergeant major of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, or LAR, were fired on May 21, Corps officials said late Thursday evening.

Lt. Col. Rafael A. Candelario II and Sgt. Maj. M. A. Chestnut were relieved of their duties by Maj. Gen. Eric Smith, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, due to “lost confidence in the command team’s ability to lead the battalion,” a command release reads.

Lt. Col. John S. Kinitz has taken over as the new commanding officer for the unit. First Sgt. Luis Ortega is temporarily acting as 3rd LARs sergeant major until the Corps finds a permanent replacement.

Third LAR Battalion “is a fast and mobilized armored unit that conducts reconnaissance-in-force ahead of infantry forces,” the release said.

Corps officials provided no further details regarding the firings.

Candelario took over the reins as commanding officer of 3rd LAR from Lt. Col. Philip C. Laing in June 2017.

The unit is headquartered out of Twentynine Palms, California.

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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