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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit commander fired following investigation into AAV mishap that killed 9

The Marine Corps has fired Col. Christopher J. Bronzi from his position as commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Corps said Tuesday.

Bronzi was relieved by Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, commanding officer of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, for “a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command, following completion of the command investigation into the assault amphibious vehicle mishap which occurred off the coast of San Clemente Island, California on July 30, 2020,” a Marine Corps press release said.

The incident was the deadliest AAV training accident in Marine Corps history and resulted in the death of eight Marines and one sailor.

In October 2020 the Marine Corps fired Lt. Col. Michael Regner, the commander of Battalion Landing Team 1/4 with the 15th MEU, as a result of the accident.

The eight-month investigation into the accident has been completed and families of the Marines and sailor who lost their lives are receiving their copies this week, Maj. Melanie Salinas, a Headquarters Marine Corps spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times on Monday.

Once the families receive their copies of the investigation the full report will be released to the public, Salinas said.

Bronzi, a native of Poughquag, New York, is an infantry officer who commissioned into the Marine Corps out of the Naval Academy in 1996, according to his official biography.

As a captain Bronzi was awarded a Silver Star for his actions in 2004 leading his men from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, against Iraqi insurgents in Ramadi.

The colonel took over command of the 15th MEU in November 2019, according to his official biography.

Marine Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, former commander of the 11th MEU, took his place, the press release said.

The MEU is currently afloat within the Central Command area of operations.

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