OCEANSIDE – The Marine unit known as the “Thundering Third” earned a reputation for heroism on battlefields that include Guadalcanal and Okinawa during World War II, Vietnam and Iraq. The unit’s honorable background now is sullied as military investigators probe the possibility that some members murdered two dozen Iraqi civilians. People who live and work in Oceanside, a city bordering the unit’s home at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, expressed dismay Friday at the allegations. “I don’t want people to get the interpretation that is what Marines are like. There’s a lot of variables in each situation. But this is a severe black eye for the Marine Corps,” said Juan Duff, a retired Marine sergeant major. A criminal investigation into the Nov. 26 civilian deaths in the Iraqi town of Haditha points toward a conclusion that Marines committed unprovoked murders, a senior defense official said Friday. A separate investigation is under way to determine whether Marines lied to cover up the killings. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment returned to Camp Pendleton this spring following their third Iraq deployment since 2003. The unit’s last deployment lasted from September 2005 until March, officials said. During their second deployment in 2004, the Thundering Third took part in the battle to clear Iraqi militants from the stronghold of Fallujah. Chris Wright, a colonel in the Marine Reserves, noted that Marines have been under tremendous stress from repeated deployments and often confusing combat situations. “Some of those guys have been over there several times already. It’s a very different war from ’03. It’s an insurgency; it’s very frustrating,” said Wright, the executive director of the 1st Marine Division Association in Oceanside, which provides support to active and retired Marines. In April, three officers with the battalion were relieved of command for a “lack of confidence in their leadership abilities” due to a series of incidents over their entire six-month deployment in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman. Relieved of command last month were Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, the battalion’s commanding officer; Capt. James S. Kimber, commanding officer of the Battalion’s India Company; and Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, commanding officer of the Battalion’s Kilo Company. They have not been charged with any wrongdoing. Several members of a second Pendleton battalion – the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, known as the Darkhorse – were sent back from Iraq as the military probes the alleged killing of an Iraqi civilian on April 26 in Hamandiyah, west of Baghdad. Some are being held in pre-trial confinement, while others were restricted to the base, said Pendleton spokesman Lt. Lawton King. No charges have been filed. Oceanside resident Rochelle Hoyt said questioned whether the Marines had lowered their recruitment standards. “I support our country but I think it’s just a select few that do that,” Hoyt said. “They should investigate people before they join the Marines so you don’t just have people that join up and kill unarmed bystanders.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
ATHLETICS: Finn Valley AC enjoyed an exciting and rewarding day at the Ulster x country masters champs at UUC on Saturday afternoon.Up first was the men and it dosen’t get any more exciting than a provincial team win when its by one point and that was the outcome in Valleys favour 50pts to North Belfast 51. Within an 8k battle such as there is not only sweat from competitors but it hits out on the supporters who have gotta move from point to point all the while reading where the or what the scores might be – anyhow all is well that ends well.The Valley heroes on this day were Dermot Mc Elchar, Shane Mc Nulty, John Mc Enhill and a newcomer to the tough world of cross country Seamus O Donnell from Convoy.Job done time to put on the happy faces and ably supported by Brian Mc Crea and Kieran Carlin.For god measure Pauric Mc Kinney from Buncrana a member of Inishowen AC took the individual spot underlining the good news Donegal story. Needles to relate Mark Conolly who has motivated these lads and coached them over the years was a happy man.Next up were the Women and on arrival memories of a great day for Catriona Devine then Mc Granaghan winning a tough teak Ulster senior against serious Belfast competition many years ago.Well she was here again and coming from 9th at 2 k to go pushed for home to take the Masters title.Her reaction of course ‘I won I’m delighted ‘and so she should be.It was a good week for the dedicated Killygordon mother of two as she had placed 3rd in nationals the previous Sunday.Her team joined by Sinead Kenny, Eimear Mc Dermott and Donna Evans 3rd the bronze medals with Marie Harper also on board. A good day at the office for Valley.ATHLETICS: FINN VALLEY AC WIN ULSTER MASTERS CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP was last modified: February 1st, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:athleticsChampionshipsFinn Valley ACMastersSportUCC