Two Camp Pendleton Marines have been demoted and hit with punitive measures after posting derogatory remarks about one of their colleagues in an online forum, authorities said Friday. The two Marines have become the first to face punishment in the wake of a nude photo-sharing scandal that triggered a Department of Defense investigation last month. Hundreds of Marines were found to have been sharing nude photos of their female counterparts online, some taken without the women's knowledge. The two Marines punished as part of the latest incident were identified only as a non-commissioned officer and a lower-ranking enlisted member of the 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment.
Camp Pendleton officials were reportedly made aware of their online insults on Wednesday, prompting their battalion commander to open an investigation. They admitted their guilt and were demoted by one pay grade, and also sentenced to 45 days of restriction to their barracks and 45 days of punitive duties. No further details about what they wrote in the United States Grunt Corps forum were disclosed, and it was not immediately clear if they had any connection to the group of Marines under scrutiny for circulating nude photos. The Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division touted their punishment as proof that the Marines are cracking down on such behavior, however. In a statement provided to the San Diego-Union Tribune, Lt. Col. Warren Cook said the case proves his unit refuses “to tolerate personal attacks on their Marines, online or elsewhere.”