WASHINGTON - The commandant of the US Marine Corps on Monday sacked two generals in the wake of a deadly attack last year by the Taliban on a major NATO base in Afghanistan.
The extraordinary decision came after a military investigation found Major General Charles Gurganus and Major General Gregg Sturdevant failed to take sufficient action to safeguard the base from a possible assault by insurgents, the Marine Corps said in a statement.
It was the first time an American general had been fired over battlefield negligence since the Vietnam War, officials said.
The September 14-15 assault on Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan was one of the most brazen ever pulled off by Taliban insurgents. Two Marines were killed, eight others wounded and six AV-8B Harrier fighter jets destroyed.
Endorsing the probe's findings, General James Amos, chief of the Marine Corps, wrote that while he was aware of the challenges faced by the Marines due to a troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, it was his duty "to remain true to the timeless axioms" that define a commander's task.
"Responsibility and accountability are the sacred tenets of Commandership."
Amos asked both officers to retire, the statement said. He also recommended to the Navy secretary that Gurganus's nomination for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General be rescinded and that Sturdevant receive a letter of censure.
Amos said he agonized over meting out discipline to officers whom he considered to be friends.