A U.S. Marine court-martialed for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters and posing for pictures with them in Afghanistan has been reduced in rank and fined.
The Marine Corps announced Thursday that Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty before a military judge.
A Marine spokesman, Col. Sean Gibson, said Lt. Gen. Richard Mills had agreed before the court-martial was held Wednesday that the maximum sentence he would approve in the case of Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin is the forfeiture of $500 in pay for one month and reduction in rank to sergeant.
The judge, who was not aware of the pre-trial agreement, announced a harsher sentence: 30 days confinement, 60 days restriction, forfeiture of $500 per month in pay for six months, a fine of $2,000 and a reduction in rank to lance corporal, which is two pay grades below sergeant.
Gibson said Mills will limit the punishments to those he set before the trial. Mills is the head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
The Marine Corps said Chamblin pleaded guilty before the military judge at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He admitted to wrongful desecration, failure to properly supervise junior Marines and posing for photos with battlefield casualties.
Chamblin is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune.
The matter came to light with the disclosure in January of a video showing four Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead men in July 2011. A criminal investigation ensued. In September 2012 the Marines announced that Chamblin and Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola would be court-martialed. Deptola’s case is pending.
The desecration scandal came to light when a video surfaced in January showing four Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead men in July 2011.
A criminal investigation was launched. In September 2012, the Marines announced that Chamblin and Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola would be court-martialed. Deptola’s case is pending.
The disclosure in January of a video showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead men led to a criminal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as well as a Marine investigation of the unit involved, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought in the southern Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before returning to its home base last September.
In the video, one of the Marines looked down at the bodies and quipped, ‘Have a good day, buddy,’ while another makes a lewd joke, as they urinated on three corpses.
The urination video was one in a string of embarrassing episodes for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. American troops have been caught up in controversies over burning Muslim holy books, posing for photos with insurgents’ bloodied remains and an alleged massacre of 16 Afghan villagers by a soldier now in U.S. confinement.
The Marine Corps said the urination took place during a counter-insurgency operation in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province on July 27, 2011. The decision to court martial Chamblin and Deptola was made by Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
When the video came to light on YouTube, U.S. military officials sternly condemned the misconduct. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he feared that it could set back efforts to begin reconciliation talks with the Taliban.
Chamblin and Deptola also were charged with other misconduct alleged to have happened on the same day as the urination incident. That includes dereliction of duty by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to report their misconduct and failing to require them to wear their personal protective equipment.
When it announced in August that three enlisted Marines had been given administrative punishment but would not be court-martialed in the urination case, the Marine Corps said one had pleaded guilty to urinating on the Taliban soldiers and posing for a photograph.
It said another Marine pleaded guilty to wrongfully videotaping the incident and also posing for a photograph, and a third pleaded guilty to failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties and lying about it. The names of those three Marines were not released.
The video of the men was called a ‘recruitment tool for the Taliban’ and helped to inflame tensions between Afghans and NATO troops when it was made public earlier this year.
Afghan officials were outraged by the images, with President Hamid Karzai branding the Marine’s actions in the video as ‘inhuman.’
Source: The Daily Mail