Monday, January 25, 2010

Advil gives swifter relief than does U.S. Army?

"82nd Airborne battalion commander fired," Tom Ricks tells us, remarking that the odd thing about this is, well, how odd it is:
relieving a battalion commander in combat used to be pretty common, but has become increasingly rare in recent wars. Even General James Gavin, who thought relief was used too often during World War II, once gave an order to a battalion commander, who questioned it, so Gavin turned to the XO and told him he now had command of the unit. In my research on World War II, I have been struck at how swift relief was, but also how it wasn't necessarily terminal. Off the top of my head I can think of two division commanders who were relieved in combat (Allen and Ward) only to get command of other divisions later in the war. What's more, Brig. Gen. "Hanging" Sam Williams was not only relieved as an assistant division commander but also reduced to colonel-only to stay in the Army and eventually retire as a three star.
Under George Marshall, there was no hesitation in relieving a commander who didn't seem to be working out, and then either trying him out elsewhere (as Ricks notes) or just putting him out to pasture.

Whereas I fear that, today, command posts *are* the pasture, and the cows (bulls?) have a strong sense of entitlement. Perhaps this example will shake things up a bit.

... Ricks also notes that the ex-commander, LTCOL Jenio, says he is looking for a lawyer. Oh yeah, good luck with that. Hope the lawyer gets paid all up front.

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