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No court martial for two Navy supervisors after deaths of Beach-based divers

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-14 17:56:54-04

Virginia Beach, Va. – There will be no court martial for two senior enlisted leaders of a Virginia Beach-based mobile diving and salvage unit after two divers under their command died during a training mission.

Senior Chief James Burger and Chief Warrant Officer III Mark Smith of MUDSU 2 were both facing potential involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty charges.

They came after Petty Officer First Class James Rehyer and Petty Officer Second Class Ryan Harris died at the bottom of the Superpond at Aberdeen proving ground in Maryland.

The two were told to dive down to 150 feet, well beyond Navy training limits, and stayed down for 24 minutes when they only had enough air for 11 minutes.

The decision to send Burger and Smith to non-judicial punishment instead of court martial was made by the commander of Naval Expeditionary Combat Command after the recommendation of a judge advocate general following an article thirty two hearing.

Related: 

Supervisor on Navy divers’ deaths: ‘Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong’

Navy divers who died during training exercise remembered at JEB Little Creek

Two locally-based Navy divers die conducting diving operations in Maryland

Navy holds hearing to consider charges against two sailors in divers’ deaths

Navy releases names of divers who died during training exercise