The commanding officer and sergeant major of a Hawaii infantry unit dubbed “America’s battalion” both were fired in late March, the Marine Corps has confirmed.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Wagner and Sgt. Maj. Jayson Clifton, of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, were fired March 31 in Hawaii, Task & Purpose first reported.

The commanding general of 3rd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. Jay Bargeron, relieved them from their jobs for “a loss of trust and confidence in their abilities to continue leading in their assigned duties,” according to Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Kurt Stahl.

“An investigation, prompted by anonymous Inspector General (IG) complaints, informed this decision,” Stahl told Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.

He did not elaborate on the nature of the complaints.

No other investigations connected to the firing are ongoing, Stahl said. At this time no other actions will be taken against the Marines.

Marines Corps Times has requested the investigation from the Marine Corps.

Wagner will be transferring to Headquarters, Marine Force Pacific, Stahl said. The transfer destination of Clifton was not shared.

Lt. Col. Felix Guerra will be serving as the new battalion commander, Stahl said. Sgt. Maj. Timothy Eldredge is now serving as the new battalion sergeant major.

Wagner enlisted in 1995, going on to the Naval Academy in 2002 and becoming an infantry officer, according to his biography. He has served in all three Marine expeditionary forces.

During the first battle of Fallujah, Iraq, he led a rifle platoon, and deployed as a company commander in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Before his job in Hawaii he worked at Quantico, Virginia, as section head for enlisted assignments at Manpower & Reserve Affairs.

Clifton enlisted in 1990, becoming an 0311 rifleman, according to his biography. He left the Corps honorably in 1994, reenlisting in 1998. He deployed to Iraq from 2007–2008, and with the 22nd Marine expeditionary unit in 2009. In 2018–2019 he deployed to Iraq again, as the senior enlisted leader for Task Force Spartan in Al Anbar province.

“The Marine Corps demands the highest standards of its leaders and takes accountability very seriously,” Stahl said.

Marine Corps Times has not yet been able to contact either Marine for comment.

Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times. On Twitter: @_andreascott.

Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times.

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