The head of US Marines in Australia's tropical north has been stood down "due to a loss of trust and confidence" after being charged with drink-driving, the military confirmed Monday.
Colonel James Schnelle was relieved of his command after telling his superiors he was "pulled over... by the Northern Territory Police for suspected driving under the influence" in the city of Darwin last month, a US Marine Corps spokesman told AFP.
"The US Marines are going to deal with him very harshly," he said.
No conviction was recorded, she said.
Schnelle said in a statement late Monday that his actions "should not overshadow" the achievements of the Marines' deployment.
"I am personally responsible for the poor judgement exhibited... and concur with the subsequent relief," he said, adding that he had "absolute respect" for Australian laws.
The deployments, part of Washington's strategic "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific, come as Beijing flexes its economic and military muscles in the region.
The Marine Corp spokesman said an investigation into Schnelle's case was initiated, and Lieutenant Colonel Jeramy Brady was appointed the new officer-in-charge for the duration of the current rotation.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)