“Two Marine Corps Generals Are Forced to Retire Over Fatal Security Breach” NY Times


"Gen. James F. Amos, the Marine Corps Commandant, announced the disciplinary action on Monday. He said the punishments were unprecedented in modern Marine Corps history and were an effort “to remain true to the timeless axioms relating to command responsibility and accountability.”
Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, formerly NATO’s regional commander in southwestern Afghanistan, was faulted for failing to properly assess risks posed by the insurgency operating outside the vast military base in Helmand Province that included camps Bastion, Leatherneck and Shorabak.
General Gurganus had been nominated for his third star and a senior leadership role at the Marine Corps headquarters at the Pentagon, but will retire instead.
Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, the former commander of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing forces assigned to Afghanistan, was faulted for not having established an integrated system of security at Bastion airfield, and will also take early retirement."
NY Times


Homage to the US Marine Corps.   The institutional courage required to do the right thing in such a case is an example that my own service, the US Army has not displayed since Vietnam
when a major general was relieved of command in similar circumstance.

For too long have general offciers avoided the consequences of action or inaction that occurred under their command.  For too long have junior leaders been required to bear the burden of punishment while their superiors escaped.

It should be noted that Major General Gurganus has stated in a most soldierly way that he was responsible and that he accepts this painful decision.  pl 



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28 Responses to “Two Marine Corps Generals Are Forced to Retire Over Fatal Security Breach” NY Times

  1. So early retirement is punishment?

  2. turcopolier says:

    Yes. They also face the possibility of reduction in grade before retirement. What do you want? Crucifixion for a mistake? pl

  3. The beaver says:

    OT: The dissertation of Bibi on Iran for his upcoming PhD in Polit Sci from the Whining University of bitterness:
    I guess along the way someone forgot to tell him that the Iran caper was a “who wag the dog” interlude unless he was one of the false flag participant.
    ” Yet, two years ago, Iranian agents tried to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, D.C. And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying to collect information for possible attacks against the American embassy in Tel Aviv.”
    Put every single terror attacks, except 9/11, on the back of the Persians is the motto of Bibi. I was waiting for him to tell the world that Iran was an ally of Hitler but we all know who took over Persia in 1925, and what happened during Operation Countenance in 1941.

  4. John Minnerath says:

    I’m old Regular Army also, but I have to say I’ve been impressed by the comportment of the USMC compared to the other Services in recent years.

  5. MartinJ says:

    On a point of law, I thought that “command responsibility” was a concept that came from the Nuremburg trials to counter Nazi officers’ defence of following orders. Here they seem to imply it is a “timeless” concept rather than one that is 70 years old.

  6. oofda says:

    And this was a NATO lash-up with the UK responsible for security- they used troops from Tonga- and on the night of the attack, a critical watch-tower was unmanned.
    Still, the Generals were responsible, and should have ensured better security.
    Regarding General Officer accountability, I am now reading “The Generals” by Tom Ricks. This is an excellent work on how the accountabilty of flag officers, esp in the U.S. Army has changed since WWII, and the effect it has had- as noted by the Colonel in his comments above. General Marshall was ruthless in the way he releived general officers- and he also provided many with second chances. The Marine Corps also was ruthless back then- but Marshall’s work was especially notable- particualy in comparison to the non-accountablilty of GOs today.

  7. turcopolier says:

    What the hell is the matter with you? Homma, Keital and Yamashita were hanged on this personal point of responsibility. p

  8. PL! IMO Reduction in Grade before retirement would be punishment not early retirement [in all probability to the corporate legions]!
    Respectfully disagree that early retirement is one reason the flag ranks remain largely unaccountable for their screw ups. Whether this case justified punishment was apparently left to the administrative system not a review by a board of equals.

  9. Fred says:

    “…his upcoming PhD in Polit Sci from the Whining University of bitterness..”
    I think this is the loudest and longest laugh I’ve had regarding this subject for awhile. Thanks for the humor.

  10. Fred says:

    “… a “timeless” concept rather than one that is 70 years old.”
    Washington relieved General Charles Lee in the middle of the Battle of Monmouth. That was more than two hundred years ago. That’s an American principle of “command responsibility” in action.

  11. turcopolier says:

    Perhaps if you had been a professional soldier you would understand the severity if the punishment. pl

  12. OK PL so please explain what exactly are the adverse consequences to a Flag Rank of being forced into early retirement? I understand loss of potential new commands and a reduced military reputation but I wish to know exactly what specific consequences these men bear? Loss of Command can be for many reasons of course not the least incompetence.
    And in your opinion did these two Generals actually have the “grip” necessary to prevent the problem or is this just trying to ensure that a fig leaf of accountability was preserved?
    And while it is a true I was NOT a professional soldier the Nation gave me responsibility over nuclear weapons and then the inspection of safety and surety of them as an inspector that determined whether commanders remained commanders or were removed from command! I also was a Nuclear Weapons Battalion S2 and was an important link in security for frontline units during the Cold War. I also dealt with many Ring Knockers that I believed were not competent to do the jobs they were asked. And I would match my performance in the TANK at DoD with many career officers dealing with military civil issues including legal policy issues.
    But hey you are entitled to your opinion of me.

  13. Tyler says:

    Camp Bastion had all the hallmarks of a war movie. The LTCOL leading his troops with a 1911, the cooks and mechanics locking and loading to go into battle, etc etc.
    However the loss of six literally irreplaceable Harriers is the turd in the punchbowl on that note. Kind of throws a handful of sand in the gears of the idea that a modern high tech army is just going to roll over a bunch of rednecks with assault rifles.

  14. Ursa Maior says:

    My contry has been dubbed many times the Land of Lack of Consequences. Thank God that common sense is not extinct in yours.
    Although seeing the struggle about Obamacare I still have doubts.

  15. oofda says:

    WRC- But you don’t grasp the Colonel’s point that being relieved from a senior post and retiring under these conditions is a severe blow to a career professional soldier. The two general’s entire professional lives have now been blighted and that is not a light punishment. And not so sure about moving into the corporate world under those circumstances.

  16. Medicine Man says:

    Our foreign minister was entirely on message at the UN recently regarding this. Baird deployed all of the staples of the genre: caution against trusting Iran, liken dialog to Munich, mutter darkly about (unproven) clandestine nuclear programs, pound away at women’s rights. All blatant button pushing with not even a nod to why refusing to talk to Iran is to be regarded as useful.

  17. oofda! So these two were destined for higher rank and higher command? I argue there are few guarantees of promotion above field grade. Perhaps it is just a conveyor built now regardless of performance! If so then a major problem for US!

  18. CK says:

    Blight earned, fruit salad can be earned so can blight.
    Had they been Pattonesque in a Sicilian situation maybe the consequences could have been ameliorated.

  19. turcopolier says:

    There are no guarantees of promotion at all. When I made major the promotion rate was 50%. This was at the height of th eVN War. When I made Lieutenant Colonel the promotion rate was 35%. When I made Colonel the promotion rate was 22%. Two “passovers” in any grade meant automatic ejection from the service. pl

  20. Thanks PL! And up and out has many hidden costs IMO!

  21. turcopolier says:

    We are speaking of officers. It’s “up OR out,” not “up AND out.” I don’t see any alternative to this system. War is a young man’s business. The physical demands of service in the field are too great for the great majority of middle aged men. Most junior officers have to leave with progressively smaller cadres retained for what are essentially desk jobs. Congress created by law the pyramidal rank structure of the armed forces. Without that we would have armed forces filled with a lot of senior officers without regard to their actual performance potential. Promotion rates have been much too high in the last ten years. there will have to be a massive RIF. pl

  22. Tyler says:

    I believe at one point 100% of Captains were making it to Major in the last decade.

  23. Eliot says:

    It’s a blemish on their honor. Few things are worse.

  24. rob says:

    Crucifixion for a mistake? For Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz and Larry Silverstein and a bunch of other sociopathic neocon dumbshits, I recommend burning at the stake as heretics.

  25. Fred says:

    Allot of people in for a very rude awakening. Hopefully the RIF gets the right ones, or at least not too many of the ones we should keep.

  26. turcopolier says:

    !00%, eh? This is a recipe for disaster. pl

  27. confusedponderer says:

    There appears to be some housecleaning underway in the US nuclear forces atm.
    A Major General and a Vice Admiral sacked, training and security officers sacked, launch crews at Minot scored the equivalent of a ‘D’, failed safety and security inspections.

  28. Fred says:

    General Dempsey is cleaning up the mess.

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