News has been released that a Marine commanding officer, Lt. Col. Edward Pavelka, was relieved of command just three days before two CH-53 helicopters crashed into the Pacific Ocean on January 14th. The reason? He had failed to keep operational standards at an acceptable level in the eyes of the commanding general of the 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW). Pavelka had been in command of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 for about 11 months.
This is not good news for anyone, and particularly not good for the families who lost loved ones. To know that negligence could be a major contributing factor in the loss of the 12 Marines involved won’t sit well.
Lt. Col. Eric Purcell replaced Pavelka, and spoke at the memorial service for the fallen Marines. See footage of the service below.