Camp Lejeune, N.C. — The court-martial of a U.S. Marine charged in connection with the case of four service members urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan is set to begin Wednesday at Camp Lejeune.
Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola is charged with being derelict in his 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, failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.
Deptola and another Marine based at Camp LeJeune, N.C., were charged last year after video surfaced showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghans in July 2011. In the video, one of the Marines looked down at the bodies and quipped, "Have a good day, buddy."
Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. Chamblin was sentenced to 30 days confinement, reduced in rank, fined and ordered to forfeit part of his pay for six months. Three other Marines were given administrative punishments for their roles in the matter.
The urination video surfaced amid a string of embarrassing episodes for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. American troops were caught up in controversies over burning Muslim holy books, posing for photos with insurgents' bloodied remains and an alleged massacre of 16 Afghan villagers by a soldier.
The Marine Corps said the urination took place during a counterinsurgency operation in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, located in the south of the country.
After the video garnered international attention on YouTube, senior military officials sternly condemned the behavior of the Marines involved.
Deptola is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune.