|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Unit||3rd Battalion, 1st Marines|
|Battles/wars||Operation Iraqi Freedom|
Luke McConnell is a Major in the United States Marine Corps. In accordance with standard administrative procedure, he was removed from command of the Camp Pendleton-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines following an alleged November 2005 war crime in Haditha, Iraq, where Marines under his command were accused of having murdered 24 civilians after one of them had been killed in an insurgent attack. According to a report in The Times on 29 May 2006, commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey R. Chessani and Captain James Kimber were also removed from command. McConnell was not physically present during the incident but was being investigated for related events that occurred afterwards. Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich was the Marine leading the patrol.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was called in to conduct an inquiry after Time magazine published a report on the killings that said the shooters' officers failed to effectively inquire into the incident. Thirteen months passed between the killings, and the initiation of the NCIS inquiry. NCIS recommended charges in December 2006.
Charges against McConnell have since been dismissed by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the Marine Forces Central Command, after it was decided that any alleged "errors or omissions" made by the Captain would best be handled through an administrative process.
According to reports in a local newspaper, McConnell grew up in Napa, California, and graduated from Vintage High School in 1993, where he was the captain of the football team. He went to study at the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1997. McConnell started his Marine career as the 1st platoon commander of Bravo Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in 29 Palms, California.
- Ali Hamdani & Ned Parker, "Marines and the 'massacre': a neighbour tells of aftermath", The Times, 29 May 2006. Accessed 27 Nov 2008.
- Josh White, Sonya Geis (2006-12-22). "4 Marines Charged In Haditha Killings". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
The separate investigation into how the incident was reported led to dereliction charges against a lieutenant colonel, two captains and a first lieutenant. They are accused of failing to thoroughly investigate and accurately report the slayings to superiors. The lieutenant also faces charges of making a false official statement and obstructing justice, according to the Marine Corps.mirror
- Mark Walker, "Charges dropped against Napan in Haditha case", The Napa Valley Register, 18 Sept 2007. Accessed 27 Nov 2008.
- Carlos Villatoro, "Attorney: Napa native did no wrong in Haditha", The Napa Valley Register, June 13, 2006. Accessed 27 Nov 2008.