The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s 2018 deployment achieved historic feats.

The nearly eight month deployment, which saw the MEU dispersed across the Middle East and Indo-Pacific, saw the first combat strikes by F-35Bs in Afghanistan. But it also saw serious discipline issues among its enlisted leaders.

Assault, fraternization, insubordination, destroyed hotel property, disorderly conduct, hazing and sexual harassment were among the charges filed against a number of staff and noncommissioned officers, according to the unit punishment book obtained by Marine Corps Times.

“Although a small minority of our Marines and Sailors did not meet the high standards necessary for our demanding operations, the vast majority of our team excelled, resulting in an overwhelmingly successful deployment,” Capt. Diann Rosenfeld, the 13th MEU spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement. “This is evident in not only our accomplishments, but in the more than 100 personal awards earned by our Marines and Sailors in the Command Element alone."

One staff sergeant with the 13th MEU was charged for creating an “abusive” work environment, sexual harassment, assault and forcing Marines within the platoon to play a sexually explicit game called “f*ck, marry, kill," according to details laid out in the charge sheet.

During the game, the staff sergeant sexually harassed two female Marines, who self-identified as lesbian, by calling them out to choose which male platoon members they would pick for each category.

“What is the straightest thing you would do for the hottest chick in the world?” the staff sergeant asked, according to charge sheets.

The staff sergeant also berated Marines as “b*tches," “little b*tches,” “fags” and “faggots,” which created a hostile and abusive work environment, according to the charge sheets.

While in Sri Lanka, the staff sergeant also was charged with assaulting a corporal by striking and slapping the Marine’s face. The staff sergeant was placed on 60 days restriction and forfeited $3,452.

While an element of the 13th MEU was in Bahrain, a different staff sergeant was charged for having an improper relationship with a corporal, drunk and disorderly conduct and assaulting a seaman master at arms on the chest and shoulder, according to the charge sheets. That case was referred to a summary-court martial.

Around December 2018 another staff sergeant destroyed “numerous items of hotel property” at the Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai and threatened hotel staff members, the charge sheets read. The Marine was confronted by hotel managers and local authorities.

An estimate of the damages were not included in the charge sheet. The Marine was punished with 45 days restriction, 45 days extra duty and forfeited $3,888.

A hospital corpsman 2nd class assigned to the 13th MEU destroyed Marriott hotel property in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, charge sheets said.

Around Aug. 22, 2018, the sailor, who was drunk and disorderly, damaged the hotel’s elevator panel by kicking and striking it, resulting in roughly $425 in damages.

In July, a sergeant embarked aboard the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship Rushmore was charged for hazing for participating in a “birthday beat-down” after “repeatedly” striking a corporal, a charge sheet detailed. The Marine was busted down to corporal and placed on 60 days of restriction.

A corporal aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex was charged with using a government computer to look at porn, according to a charge sheet. The Marine lied about the incident to a first sergeant, claiming he went to to look at “blogs and Marvel material,” the charge sheet reads.

The Marine was busted down to lance corporal, forfeited $2,176, and was placed on 45 days restrictions and extra duty.

A lance corporal aboard the Essex was busted down to private first class and forfeited $1,836 for sharing an intimate image of another lance corporal without that person’s consent, according to a charge sheet.

“The 13th MEU takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, and the command took swift and appropriate action to ensure Marines or Sailors were held accountable,” Rosenfeld said.

It’s unknown at this time if any of the charges will result in administrative separation from the Corps, as Marines and sailors with the MEU have already chopped back to their subordinate commands.

Misconduct aboard the 13th MEU among enlisted leaders raises questions about discipline across the force, especially in light of the 2nd Marine Division’s April crackdown.

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, division commander Maj. Gen. David Furness’ decision to address discipline problems with a mandated stand down set off a series of debates among veterans and active duty Marines.

Stories of a junior Marine saluting a general officer while still sitting on his iPhone to a confirmed report of the commandant approaching a young Marine in pajamas at the chow hall have devolved into finger pointing from veterans and noncommissioned officers about a new Marine generation run amuck.

But the 13th MEU’s unit punishment diary tells of a number of noncommissioned officers failing to live up to standards and expectations required of their billet — NCOs who are also charged with setting the example for Marines under their watch.

Nearly 20 staff and noncommissioned officers were charged with misconduct during the course of the 13th MEU’s deployment cycle compared to roughly 13 junior Marines who were hit for wrongdoing, according to the unit punishment diary.

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

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