A two-star Marine Corps general in charge of troops in Europe and Africa has been relieved of command amid an investigation into his alleged use of a racial slur, military officials said.
Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Neary was relieved of his duties Monday by Marine Commandant Gen. David H. Berger “due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in command,” the Corps confirmed in a statement Tuesday to Stars and Stripes.
Details of the probe were not provided by the Marine Corps, but the newspaper reported earlier this month that Neary was being investigated for allegedly using the N-word during an August training event on a parade field outside the Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa headquarters in Boeblingen, Germany.
A lance corporal at the event said Neary used the racial slur while Marines were training outside with loud rap music playing, the newspaper reported.
Neary had asked the Marines how they would feel if he said the N-word upon hearing the slur in the music, startling some black, white and Latino troops nearby, according to the report.
“He lost respect right there,” the lance corporal who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
Several Marines later told the newspaper about the alleged slur as Neary remained in command. He assumed his role in July and previously served as deputy commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejune in North Carolina, Stars and Stripes reported.
Col. James T. Iulo will serve as the acting commander until Neary’s replacement is determined, military officials said Tuesday.
An investigation is ongoing, but enough details emerged to lead Berger to relieve Neary of his command, a US official told ABC News.
The move is expected to effectively end Neary’s career with the Marines, the Wall Street Journal reported. He did not respond immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday, according to the newspaper.