Six students at The Basic School for Marine Officers along with two investigators overseeing the cheating scandal are facing charges
An ongoing scandal at the Basic School for Marine Officers near Quantico, VA has made national headlines this week, as six second lieutenants and at least two investigators are embroiled in allegations of cheating, sexual harassment, and breaches of equal opportunity conduct, all of which have taken place following the wrongful obtaining and sharing of grid points for the Marine’s night land navigation course.
Multiple reports by Marine Corp Times and Military.com claim that on December 5th, 2017, six officers completed TBS’s night navigation course by sharing coordinates to the locations of hidden boxes scattered across the woodlands near Quantico, VA. The coordinates were allegedly shared via text just prior to the event.
Unfortunately for the officers, the act did not go unnoticed. One student who was not a part of the group brought his suspicions to his commanding officer, which quickly led to an investigation into the conduct of the six.
“The TBS command launched an investigation and the students, interviewed one by one, began to rat each other out,” noted the Marine Corps Times.
Investigators discovered a confiscated cell phone which belonged to one of the six officers, and found within it evidence of coordinate requests and other texts of a dubious nature. As the students were confronted with this evidence, they took different approaches of proclaiming their innocence.
The Marine Corps Times noted that one student admitted to investigators that he had requested and received the grid coordinates, “but he also denied using them while taking the test because he believed they were ‘unreliable.’”
Another student, possibly the “ringleader” of the entire operation, may be in even more trouble than the rest. According to reports by TBS investigators, this student had obtained the coordinates from the previous class, where his grades and conduct led him to be recycled to Phase II of TBS.
Another student with the assumed name Lt. Delta took a more aggressive approach. Her attorney, Mike Hanzel, noted that she and another female student had been left by investigators inside the interrogation room all night long, while the other students had been free to leave. This eventually led to a second inquiry into the investigators themselves.
As training command later noted, “An investigating officer concluded that the staff members should have personally ensured these two students were informed that they were properly dismissed and secured for the evening.”
Lt. Delta and her attorney also claimed she had been sexually abused at the hands of investigators, although these accusations have not yet been substantiated.
All six students are currently facing administrative separation from the Marines. Meanwhile, the two captains who were charged with overseeing the initial investigation have received non-punitive letters of reprimand. It is unclear at this time whether the ringleader of the operation will get a third chance to try to pass TBS.