Quantico Marine leader fired after investigation into 'personal misbehavior'

Col. John Atkinson, right, with Col. Todd Oneto. Photo: Cpl. Timothy Turner/U.S. Marine Corps

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A Virginia-based Marine colonel was fired Thursday -- becoming at least the second Marine commanding officer to be sacked this week -- over an investigation into personal misconduct, Military.com has learned.

Col. John Atkinson, the former commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion in Quantico, Virginia, was relieved "due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command," said Maj. Simba Chigwida, a spokesman for Marine Corps Installations Command.

The decision was made by Maj. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, head of Marine Corps Installations Command, Chigwida said. The circumstances surrounding the relief are currently under investigation, but a Marine official with knowledge of the case said it involved "personal misbehavior."

No additional details about the circumstances have been released as the investigation continues.

Atkinson is at least the second Marine commanding officer to be relieved by a general this week. On Monday, Lt. Col. James Compton was removed from his job as commander of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 in Japan. That squadron was involved in a deadly December midair collision off the coast Japan.

Atkinson has been temporarily assigned to a role at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Chigwida said. Lt. Col. Eugene Nagy, the battalion's executive officer, has been temporarily assigned as the acting commanding officer, he added.

Atkinson has led Headquarters and Service Battalion since June 2017. The assault amphibian officer deployed to Iraq twice and previously served in multiple roles with Headquarters Marine Corps, including as director of fires and maneuver integration with Combat Development and Integration at Quantico.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

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