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Fired commander of 1st Recon Battalion charged with assault

The former commander of Camp Pendleton, California, based 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who was fired from his position in May, was charged with assault among other charges, according to military officials.

Lt. Col. Francisco X. Zavala was charged with assault, making a false official statement, waste or destruction of non-military property and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman.

The charges are only preferred, and Zavala will face an Article 32 hearing in early October where a preliminary hearing officer will determine the appropriate form of adjudication or whether Zavala will face all, some or none of the charges, Motz said.

His charge sheets have not yet been released by the Marine Corps, so it is unknown at this time exactly when Zavala was charged.

Zavala is currently assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. He was relieved of his command in May by 1st Marine Division commander, Maj. Gen. Robert F. Castellvi, over “lost trust and confidence” in his ability to continue to lead 1st Recon battalion.

Zavala’s wife filed for a restraining order in April as part of divorce from her husband, where she alleged domestic abuse, according to court documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.

Zavala told Task & Purpose that allegations against him were false and that he was “fairly confident" he would "be exonerated of everything that’s being alleged against me.”

Task & Purpose first broke the news that Zavala was being charged with assault.

Zavala was commissioned as an officer in 2000 and has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2004, he was a platoon commander for 1st Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, Security Force Battalion, according to his official military bio.

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