An Article 32 investigation has been ordred regarding whether two senior leaders in a diving unit were responsible for the Feb. 26 deaths of two Navy divers at this underwater testing pool in Aberdeen, Md. (Army via AP)
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The Navy ordered a preliminary investigation Tuesday into whether two senior leaders in a diving unit were responsible for the Feb. 26 deaths of two divers at an underwater testing pool in Aberdeen, Md.
Rear. Adm. Mike Tillotson, head of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, ordered an Article 32 investigation of “senior leaders” at the Virginia Beach, Va.-based Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, NECC said Wednesday in a news release. Officials did not release the names, but said they may become public at the hearing, set for May 21.
“We are not able to release the names due to privacy concerns,” said NECC spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Charity Hardison, adding that the unit’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief “are not subjects of this initial Article 32 investigation.”
The hearing will assess whether to take the leaders to court-martial for dereliction of duty and involuntary manslaughter for the drowning deaths of Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW) James Reyher, 28, and Navy Diver 2nd Class (DSW) Ryan Harris, 23.
The senior leaders under investigation are a chief warrant officer 3 and a senior chief, Hardison said.
There have been three deaths this year at the Underwater Test Facility, known as the “Super Pond.” The first happened Jan. 30, while an Army technician was conducting maintenance; the hearing will not address that incident, Hardison said.
NECC said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had completed its investigation and that the NECC command inquest is still ongoing.