Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon relieved of command

news
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala (Photo: US Marine Corps)

A senior Marine commander has been removed from command of the California-based 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine officials said in a news release late Tuesday evening.


Lt. Col. Francisco X. Zavala was fired on Tuesday by Maj. Gen. Robert Castelvi, 1st Marine Division commander, due to a "loss of trust and confidence" in his ability to lead, officials said in a brief statement.

Maj. Jeffrey Erb has been appointed as 1st Recon's new commanding officer, the release said.

The Corps routinely puts out vague news releases when commanders are fired that cite a "loss of trust," offering very little information as to why a commander was removed. But since this release was dropped on reporters on Tuesday evening at 8:06 p.m. Pacific time — a perfect time to bury bad news — we can certainly speculate that whatever Zavala did, it was probably pretty bad.

A native of Helotes, Texas, Zavala was first commissioned in August 2000 as an infantry officer, according to his official biography. He had previously served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. In Feb. 2011, he moved into the Marine reconnaissance community with 4th Recon Battalion.

The removal of Zavala comes amid other high-profile firings of top Corps leaders in recent weeks.

Col. Douglas Lemott Jr., the commander of Marine Corps Cyberspace Operations Group, was relieved of command earlier this week after he was arrested on drunk driving charges in Virginia. Similarly, Col. John Atkinson, commander of Headquarters and Service Battalion in Quantico, Va., was relieved on April 26 over allegations he drove under the influence in Prince William County.

U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec. 6, 2006. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.

Read More Show Less
Lance Cpl. Job Wallace (Facebook)

A Camp Pendleton Marine who was believed to be headed back to the base from Arizona on Monday, but never arrived, was found safe in Texas Saturday night, military officials said.

Read More Show Less
Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

Read More Show Less