A Southold High School graduate and staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines will face charges after being referred to a court martial trial on Friday, according to the Suffolk Times.
After a video appeared on YouTube last winter depicting U.S. soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses, the Marine Corps launched an investigation into the incident. No soldiers were identified in the video.
The Department of Defense issued a statement last Friday, noting the following: “There are other pending cases related to this incident. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigations and to ensure fair and impartial legal proceedings in the future, we will not discuss evidence or specific findings of the investigations. We will be as forthright as possible while preserving the rights of the accused and the fairness and integrity of the military justice process.”
According to military officials, the incident reportedly took place during a counterinsurgency operation near Sandala in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province on or around July 27, 2011.
Marine Corps Staff Sgts. Edward W. Deptola, of Southold, and Joseph W. Chamblin and were charged for their alleged involvement in urinating on the deceased Taliban fighters and for posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties.
In addition they were charged for other misconduct that allegedly took place during the same operation, including: being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear their personal protective equipment, failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher, and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons.
Deptola, reportedly a 2003 graduate of Southold High, also is charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.
Both Deptola and Chamblin are assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.