2012 Top Story No. 5: Southold Marine facing court martial

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola at a welcome home party  in Mattituck last October.

A Marine from Southold made international headlines in September when it was learned he will be court martialed for urinating on dead Taliban fighters and posing for photographs with the corpses in Afghanistan last year.

Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola, 27, a 2003 graduate of Southold High School, was charged in the incident, which occurred in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on or about July 27, 2011, according to a press release from the Department of Defense. Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, 35, of North Carolina was also charged in the incident, officials said.

The incident allegedly took place during a counterinsurgency operation near Sandala in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province. The incident came to light after a video popped up on YouTube in January, prompting military officials to launch several investigations, the DOD said.

Staff Sgts. Deptola and Chamblin were also charged for other misconduct that took place during the same July 2011 operation, including being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear their personal protective equipment, failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, officials said.

Additionally, Staff Sgt. Deptola, who is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.,  is charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun, officials said.

In August, three other Marines received nonjudicial punishment for misconduct that came to light during several investigations into the incident.