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Colonel in charge of Quantico's Security Battalion relieved

Oct. 18, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Col. Daren Margolin has been relieved as head of Security Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Col. Daren Margolin has been relieved as head of Security Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. (Marine Corps)
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The two-star head of Marine Corps Installations Command has relieved the commanding officer of Quantico’s Security Battalion following an incident involving a personal weapon, Marine Corps officials said.

Col. Daren Margolin, a 24-year officer was removed from his post Oct. 18 by Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine Corps spokeswoman.

Krebs said the decision stemmed from a single incident last week involving one of Margolin’s personal weapons, but said she did not have authorization to elaborate on the incident. Margolin has also been charged with several violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but the specific charges are not releasable because Margolin’s relief was the result of an administrative process, she said.

A legal officer, Margolin previously served at the Staff Judge Advocate for Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division. He took command of Security Battalion in June.

The relief follows a series of deadly events involving firearms aboard Marine Corps installations in the National Capitol Region. In March, a tactics instructor at Quantico’s Officer Candidates School gunned down two Marine colleagues before turning his weapon on himself. Following the incident, the school’s commander, Col. Kris Stillings, was relieved of duty.

Some six months later, a civilian contractor smuggled a Remington shotgun into Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in the Washington Navy Yard and killed 12 people, then shot himself. Most recently, a Marine corporal was found dead in his barracks aboard Quantico from an apparent gunshot wound Oct. 13 in an “isolated incident” that continues to be investigated by Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Quantico is governed by an order requiring all military personnel on base to register personal firearms and store them at the base armory, off-base, or in non-barracks family housing under high-security conditions. Except for personnel required to carry concealed handguns in the execution of their duty and students at the FBI academy, concealed carry permits are not recognized on base.

Security Battalion oversees personal weapons registration and enforcement of the weapons order for Quantico.

Washington Navy Yard also prohibits personnel from carrying personal weapons aboard the installation.

Krebs said MCICom is executing a comprehensive review of the Marine Corps order regarding weapons on bases within the National Capital Region, which include Quantico and Marine Barracks Washington. The review of the policy for tenant commands within the region will include enforcement of the current standards and educating Marines on existing policies to “ensure accountability at all levels,” she said.

“Gen. Ayala is not taking this lightly,” Krebs said. “He’s taking some serious measures to look at this.”

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