WASHINGTON – The Marine Corps commandant said Monday that he ordered two top generals to retire for failing to protect a U.S.-British base in Afghanistan from a rebel attack last year that killed two Americans, wounded 16 other troops and destroyed six military aircraft.
The decision by Gen. James F. Amos, top commander of the Marines, was an unusual example of senior U.S. military officers losing their jobs for mistakes made during a war.
Amos cited Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant for major lapses in judgment in ordering them to retire for their roles in the Sept. 15, 2012, assault on Camp Bastion in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
In the nighttime four-hour attack, 15 heavily armed Taliban insurgents wearing U.S. Army uniforms used wire cutters to breach a fence. They destroyed six Harrier attack jets and damaged more than a half dozen other aircraft.
Amos accepted the findings of a four-month investigation by the U.S. Central Command, which oversees American troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The investigation found that patrols outside the base had been reduced and a guard tower overlooking the area where the insurgents cut through the fence was unmanned.
Amos recommended to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that Gurganus’ promotion to the rank of lieutenant general be rescinded and that Sturdevant receive a Navy letter of censure.