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Quantico’s commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion fired

The commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, was fired due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.”

Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, commander of Marine Corps Installations Command, fired Col. John B. Atkinson April 25, according to a command release.

Circumstances are under investigation, according to the release. No further information was provided.

Lt. Col. Eugene F. Nagy, Headquarters and Service Battalion executive officer, has temporarily been assigned as acting commanding officer. The permanent replacement will take over this summer, officials said.

Atkinson, 49, has temporarily been assigned at Quantico, Virginia. The colonel was arrested on April 12 in Prince William County, Virginia, on a drunk driving charge, arrest records show. He agreed to meet in court May 24.

Court records allege that Atkinson refused a blood alcohol test, which can result in a one year driver’s license suspension. In January, he had been fined for driving without a license, reported.

The Headquarters Service Battalion provides training, readiness and sustainment of Marines assigned to eight major commands at Quantico, according to the official website.

Atkinson’s firing came just days after the April 22 firing of Lt. Col. James R. Compton, the then-commander of Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, for “loss of trust and confidence.”

Compton was commander of the squadron at the time an F/A-18 Hornet in his unit collided with a KC-130J transport plane, killing the entire plane crew and the Hornet pilot, Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard.

The crew members killed in the collision were: Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36; Staff Sgt. Maximo Alexander Flores, 27; Cpl. William C. Ross, 21; and Cpl. Daniel E. Baker.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told Marine Corps Times that Compton’s firing was a direct result of decisions made related to the fatal crash.

The weapons officer on the Hornet, who has not been named, survived the crash.

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