Marine Battalion Commander Relieved During Middle East Deployment

 Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG-2), right, talks with Marine Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) forward officer in charge, while both were embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in September 2017 during relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Mainz was relieved of command today. (Kaitlyn E. Eads/Navy)
Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG-2), right, talks with Marine Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) forward officer in charge, while both were embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in September 2017 during relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Mainz was relieved of command today. (Kaitlyn E. Eads/Navy)

The commander of a Marine Corps battalion currently deployed with a Marine expeditionary unit in the U.S. 5th Fleet was abruptly released from his duties due to "loss of trust and confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion," Marine officials announced today.

Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, commander of battalion landing team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, was removed from his post Saturday, according to a release from II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was relieved of command by Brig. Gen. Francis Donovan, commander of Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, a Bahrain-based command.

While 2/6 typically falls under the purview of II MEF, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the unit has been deployed since February as the ground element of the 26th MEU. A spokesman for II MEF, Lt. Col. Michael Armistead, confirmed to Military.com that Mainz had been deployed with his unit in the 5th Fleet, a region that encompasses the Middle East, when he was relieved.

It wasn't immediately clear if Mainz would be sent home to the states or remain with the unit on deployment.

Lt. Col. Christopher Bopp, who formerly commanded 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion out of 2nd Marine Division, has replaced Mainz as commander of 2/6, according to the release.

Mainz, an infantry officer, received his commission in 1999, according to his official biography.

He deployed to Ramadi, Iraq as a company commander in 2008 and served as the future operations planner for II MEF prior to taking command of 2/6 in June 2016.

In the past year, Mainz served as a public face for the 26th MEU when his battalion deployed with the unit on a relief mission to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Mainz will be reassigned within II MEF, according to the release.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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