NEW INFO: Lejeune Commanding Officer Relieved Of Duties

A Camp Lejeune spokesperson says the commanding officer who oversees nearly 2,500 Marines and sailors was relieved of his duties this week due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Colonel James Christmas, the commanding officer of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, was relieved of his duties. Major General Raymond Fox, commanding general of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, made the decision.

Christmas' relief was administrative in nature, according to a base spokesman. Specifics surrounding it were not released by the base.

"The II Marine Expeditionary Force is not a zero-defect organization, and the relief of a commander is never an easy decision," wrote Captain Binford Strickland in a statement to WITN. "However, the commanding general decided this action was in the best interest of the Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU and the Marine Corps."

Christmas' military biography online shows he joined the Corps in 1990 and has been awarded several decorations including a Bronze Star and combat action ribbon.

Christmas was named commanding officer of the 22nd MEU in June of 2012.

The Department of Defense previously announced the 22nd MEU would be deploying in 2014.


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