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Staff NCO faces trial in urination video case

Dec. 14, 2012 - 04:50PM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 14, 2012 - 04:50PM  |  
A staff noncommissioned officer will be court martialed Dec. 19 on charges related to a video in which Marines with a scout-sniper unit were seen urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
A staff noncommissioned officer will be court martialed Dec. 19 on charges related to a video in which Marines with a scout-sniper unit were seen urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters. (YouTube)
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A staff noncommissioned officer will be court-martialed Wednesday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on charges related to an infamous 2011 incident in Afghanistan in which Marines with a scout-sniper unit videotaped themselves urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, the Marine Corps announced Friday.

Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, will be tried at a special court-martial on two counts of violating Article 92 and five counts under Article 134, said Col. Sean Gibson, a spokesman at Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va.

Chamblin is accused of failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require they wear their proper personal protective equipment, failing to report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, officials said in a statement.

A 39-second video of the incident, which allegedly took place during a counter-insurgency operation near Sandala in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, surfaced Jan. 10. It received worldwide attention and prompted condemnation from top military leaders. An investigation quickly identified four Marines seen in the video.

Chamblin is one of several NCOs and staff NCOs, assigned or attached to 3/2 during the 2011 deployment, charged in connection with the alleged desecration of dead bodies.

In August, two NCOs received nonjudicial punishment after pleading guilty to several charges, including taking photographs of and posing with dead bodies, the Marine Corps said. One staff NCO pleaded guilty to failing to report the mistreatment of the casualties and lying to Naval Criminal Investigators about the video incident. Officials did not release their names because NJP is considered an administrative action.

Legal actions against several Marines are pending, Gibson said.

Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola is awaiting special court-martial on similar charges as Chamblin. He also is charged with wrongfully and indiscriminately firing an enemy machine gun that the Marines recovered and with failing to stop the unnecessary damage of Afghan compounds, according to MCCDC. No date has been set for his court-martial, Gibson said Friday.

Legal actions are pending against several other Marines, but because of the ongoing investigation, Gibson said he could not yet provide information.

The desecration cases are being handled by MCCDC, which was designated as the convening authority. The commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, in September referred the cases against Chamblin and Deptola to be heard at courts-martial.

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