On Tuesday, it was announced that the top Marine Corps officer for Europe and Africa, Major General Stephen Neary, was relieved of his command following an investigation for the alleged use of a racial slur. 

Maj. Gen. Neary was relieved of his command of Marine Forces Europe and Africa by General David Berger, the Commandant of the Marine Corps due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in command.”

Neary had only assumed the command of Marine Forces Europe and Africa on July 8.

Stars and Stripes was the first to report that Maj. Gen. Neary was under investigation for the alleged use of a racial slur. The incident in question occurred in August during physical training outside the Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa headquarters in Böblingen, Germany outside of Stuttgart.

According to the report, Neary had joined a group of Marines who were conducting physical training on a parade field. In the background, loud rap music was playing which included the use of the “N-word.” Neary then asked the Marines how they would feel if he used that word. And he apparently did so, according to a lance corporal who was present. A lance corporal who spoke to Stars and Stripes under the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said that even if Maj. Gen. Neary had been attempting to illustrate the taboo nature of the word, it came as a shock to hear it from “a white general officer.” 

“He lost respect right there,” the lance corporal added.

Several weeks following the incident, several Marines who were present that August morning were upset that Maj. Gen. Neary was still in command and went public to Stars and Stripes. 

After the Stars and Stripes piece first published, the Marine Corps confirmed that it was aware of the allegations and that appropriate actions, “regardless of rank,” would be taken if the allegations were substantiated.