Hearings begin into deadly AAV tragedy in waters off San Clemente Island

One Marine dead, eight others missing in amphibious assault vehicle accident off California coast
Posted at 7:49 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 10:49:44-05

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KGTV) — A Marine Corps panel will convene on Tuesday to decide if an officer should be charged in the sinking of an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of San Clemente Island that killed nine service members.

The deadly training mishap in July 2020 occurred when the AAV started to take on water, trapping the nine-person crew inside. A Marine Corps investigation later found that inadequate training, shabby maintenance, and poor judgment by leaders led to the tragedy.

Tuesday will mark the start of hearings at Camp Pendleton, which could last for up to four days. A Board of Inquiry is set on day one for Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner, who was relieved of his command shortly after the mishap.

Another hearing is set for an administrative separation board for a sergeant.

The families of the service members killed said all they've received in the way of answers from the Marines are heavily redacted statements. They add that they want to see changes in the wake of their loved ones' deaths.

"They took my life. He left behind 7 other brothers and sisters and they loved that boy. There's a hole in my family I can't fix. And I don't want another mother to open her door at 7 a.m. and see two casualty officers telling her that her son is missing," one mother of a victim said during a press conference.

The family of the victims filed a lawsuit in July 2021 against the manufacturer of the AAV involved.