Two Marine Generals Fired Over Afghan Attack

Did not adequately protect camp from attack that killed 2, says commandant

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 30, 2013 6:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Two US Marine generals in Afghanistan have been given the boot after a Taliban attack on base last year left two Marines dead and destroyed six US fighter jets worth $200 million. Gen. James Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, says Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant "did not take adequate force protection measures" to protect Camp Bastion in southwestern Afghanistan, the AP reports. Gurganus was the top US commander in the region at the time, while Sturdevant was in charge of Marine aviation in the area.

This is the first time since the Vietnam War that a general has been fired, notes the Washington Post. But Amos says the rare measure was warranted, because the two men "failed to exercise the level of judgment expected of commanders of their rank." The Taliban fighters were able to break onto the base by cutting through a wire fence which didn't have an alarm and was near an unoccupied guard tower, the AP reports. Gurganus subsequently described this as "a lucky break." Amos acknowledged that the number of troops under their command had dwindled—from 17,000 to 7,400 thanks to withdrawals imposed by Obama—but said that was no excuse for not managing the ones they did have more intelligently.

US marine Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus speaks to reporters at a press conference  in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone in 2007.
US marine Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus speaks to reporters at a press conference in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone in 2007.   (AP Photo/Sabah Arar, Pool)
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