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The Navy has postponed by about a month the Article 32 hearing of two senior sailors accused in the deaths of two Navy divers during a Feb. 26 dive in Aberdeen, Md.
Rear. Adm. Mike Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, initially ordered the hearing, which is the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation, to be held May 21. It’s been moved to June 18 “to ensure both parties had sufficient time to review the evidence and prepare for the hearing,” NECC spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Charity Hardison said.
A senior chief and a chief warrant officer 3 from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 face charges of dereliction of duty and involuntary manslaughter resulting from the Feb. 26 deaths of Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW) James Reyher, 28, and Navy Diver 2nd Class (DSW) Ryan Harris, 23.
The deaths occurred during an exercise at an underwater testing pool in Aberdeen and have already resulted in the firing of Cmdr. Michael Runkle, MDSU 2’s skipper, by Capt. Timothy Rudderow, commander of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2, “for a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”
NECC has declined to release the names of the MDSU personnel facing charges. They have also declined to release whether the accused have retained civilian defense attorneys, citing “privacy reasons until the Article 32 convenes.”