Southold Marine to be Court-martialed in Urine Case

A Southold man has been identified as one of the Marines set to be charged for allegedly urinating on and posing for pictures with the bodies of dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan last year.

The Suffolk Times reported that Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola is a 2003 graduate of Southold High School and that the 27-year-old father of two returned home in October 2011. His unit, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, spent seven months in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

The Marine Corps announced Monday that he and Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin would be court-martialed for their actions last July. A YouTube video surfaced in January that showed four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the corpses of three dead Taliban fighters and posing for photos with the bodies.


Chamblin and Deptola were also charged for other misconduct that allegedly took place during the same operation, including being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, not requiring them to wear protect equipment, failing to stop and report their misconduct and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, including a discharge of a grenade launcher.

Deptola additionally faces charges of failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.

Last month, three other unidentified Marines received nonjudicial punishments for the incident. Officials said that one pleaded guilty to urinating on the Taliban fighters and posing for photographs, a second pleaded guilty to wrongfully videotaping the incident and posing for a photograph and the third pleaded guilty to failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties and lying about it.

The Marine Corps said in the statement that disciplinary actions against additional Marines will be announced later and that there are “other pending cases related to this incident,” but did not elaborate.

“In order to preserve the integrity of the investigations and to ensure fair and impartial legal proceedings in the future, we will not discuss evidence or specific findings of the investigations,” the statement read.

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