A Year Later, NCIS Still Investigating the Case of the Missing Marine Corps Rifles

M4 Carbines belonging to U.S. Marines within the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
M4 Carbines, belonging to U.S. Marines within the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, sit ready with additional gear in the hangar bay of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in preparation for amphibious training. (Aaron Henson/U.S. Marine Corps)

The case of the missing 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines rifles remains unsolved.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service's probe into what led a pair of Marine Corps rifles and a flak jacket to disappear during a North Carolina training exercise last December remains ongoing, Military.com has learned.

"The rifles have not been located," Jeff Houston, an NCIS spokesman, said. "No charges have been filed at this point."

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It has been nearly a year since the rifles went missing just before Christmas last year. The incident led to rumors that holiday leave was canceled for 3/6 grunts as the unit was locked down to search for the missing weapons.

A spokesman for the infantry battalion's parent command, 2nd Marine Division, referred questions about the case to NCIS. He has said in the past that the division takes the case of the missing rifles very seriously.

The commanding officer and top enlisted leader with 3/6 were later removed from their jobs, though officials have declined to say whether the decision was tied to the missing rifles, citing the ongoing investigation.

The incident is one of several high-profile episodes for 2nd Marine Division in recent years. Maj. Gen. Francis Donovan recently declared that his division has a drug problem after several of Marines tested positive for LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide.

About 4,000 members of 2nd Marine Division have now been tested for the hallucinogen since the summer, and about 20 of them have tested positive for LSD.

NCIS agents warned earlier this year that LSD use was on the rise in the Navy Department.

Members of 2nd Marine Division also continue to follow a basic daily routine, first introduced in April 2019, after their former commanding general said they had poor discipline and sloppy appearances.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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