The commanding officer and the senior enlisted leader at the Marine Corps’ East Coast recruit training regiment have been fired, the Marine Corps confirmed July 17.

Col. Bradley Ward and Sgt. Maj. Fabian Casillas on July 5 were relieved of their leadership positions at the recruit training regiment at Parris Island, South Carolina, “for loss of trust and confidence,” Marine spokesman Maj. Philip Kulczewski said in a statement July 17 in response to a Marine Corps Times query.

“No other information is available at this time,” Kulczewski said.

In his statement, Kulczewski identified the fired leaders only as the “Recruit Training Regiment Commanding Officer and Sergeant Major.”

Maj. Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman, said in a statement July 28 that Col. Bradley Ward and Sgt. Maj. Fabian Casillas were not suspected of any misconduct or under investigation.

Ward had been commander of the regiment since July 2021, and Casillas had been his senior enlisted adviser since sometime in 2022, according to an archived version of the regiment’s website from March, accessed through the website Wayback Machine.

The regiment’s new commander is Col. Christopher McArthur, a prior-enlisted Marine whose last job was at a joint command in Virginia, according to the base’s website. The new sergeant major is Sgt. Maj. Michael Brown, a former drill instructor who has served as the enlisted leader of battalions at the South Carolina boot camp since 2019.

Ward is a prior-enlisted Marine who went through recruit training in South Carolina and later served as a drill instructor there, according to a Marine Corps news release from 2021. Casillas also previously served as a drill instructor.

Marine Corps Times could not immediately locate contact information for Ward and Casillas.

A series of high-profile tragedies has occurred at the South Carolina Marine base in recent years.

In June 2021, the month before Ward took command of the Recruit Training Regiment at the South Carolina boot camp, a recruit, Pfc. Dalton Beals, 19, died during the culminating event of recruit training.

His senior drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Steven T. Smiley, was later charged with negligent homicide and other alleged offenses. His trial at the base started July 17.

In the span of two months this year, at least two recruits died at the South Carolina boot camp.

Pfc. Noah Evans, 21, died during a physical fitness test in April, and Pvt. Marshall Hartman, 18, died in a “non-training incident” in June, Marine officials said.

The base command opened investigations into both deaths.

The investigation into the death of Evans, a native of Decatur, Georgia, has been completed, and Marine Corps Times has requested it under the Freedom of Information Act. The investigation into Hartman’s death is ongoing, Kulczewski confirmed in response to Marine Corps Times’ query.

Editor’s note: This story was updated July 28 to note that neither Ward nor Casillas were suspected of any misconduct or under investigation.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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