Oct. 20 (UPI) — Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa has been fired amid probe into the use of racial slurs, the Marine Corps said on Tuesday.
An incident occurred in August during a physical training outdoors with loud music playing at the Stuttgart-area headquarters in Germany, and Neary was relieved of his command on Monday, Stars and Stripes first reported.
A Marine, who was present at the exercise, and spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution, said that Black, White and Latino Marines were shocked to hear the White general say the N-word.
Some of the rap music lyrics playing at the time included racial epithets, and Neary asked the junior marines how they would feel if he said it, the Marine said.
A Corps official confirmed to Task and Purpose that the two-star general was later placed under investigation for allegedly saying the N-word.
Commandant Gen. David Berger in a statement Tuesday announced that Neary was relieved of his command after a little over three months in Europe and Africa.
“Neary was relieved due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in command,” Berger said in the statement, which did not include details about why Neary was fired and didn’t mention the probe into the racial slur.
The general took the office in July after relinquishing the posts of II Marine Expeditionary Force deputy commander and commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
He joined the Corps in 1988 and was a career infantry officer in Operation Desert Shield Desert Storm as a company commander and as a batallion commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marine Corps Times reported, according to his official unit biography, which has since been removed.
Marine Col. Jame Iulo will be acting commander of the forces, according to a press release.