Monday, May 09, 2005

Gen. Mattis gets dressed down by a Congressman 
Representative Curt Weldon (R - PA) is going off half-cocked on something best left to the Marine Corps to handle internally.


Marine Lt. Gen. James Mattis told congressmen Thursday that a captain relieved of his command after complaining about the lack of armored Humvees was disciplined for unrelated reasons.

Capt. Kelly D. Royer, a unit commander with the 1st Marine Division’s Company E, was lauded by Marines officials in May 2004 for his leadership in a series of battles with insurgents in the Ramadi area.

But after he blamed many of the deaths in his unit on inadequate armor and equipment in a New York Times story several months later, Royer was relieved of command.

Mattis said the decision “had nothing to do with him speaking out” but instead was related to complaints from noncommissioned officers related to his command decisions.

The comments came after angry questions from Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., who said he was “embarrassed” and “offended” by the way Marines officials had handled the situation.

“I don’t know him, but I do know he came out and publicly spoke out about his frustration,” Weldon said. “And instead of what should have been the proper response, which is to have everybody join in and fight the system and demand what he needed to protect those troops, it appears as though he is being singled out now.”

Mattis said he could not speak to specifics of the case because that would violate Royer’s privacy, but reiterated that the move was based solely on battlefield decisions.

Mattis is right. The good congressman needs to take a chill pill. There were a lot of things going into that decision, some of which were made known to me from my own contacts from within the brigade. The NY Times article had absolutely nothing whatever to do with the decision.

Beyond defending the USMC from an unjust accusation from an ignorant US congressman, that's all I'm going to say. I haven't published what happened, according to my sources, and I won't. Maybe some of the men of 2-4 who were there will tell the story, based on what happened to them. But there were reasons directly related to battlefield leadership. To my knowledge, no UCMJ charges are pending, nor are warranted now. The officer has been relieved, appropriately.

I will say that the officer may well have been relieved well before - perhaps months before he was actually relieved, but the USMC did not grant certain administrative authority to the Army brigade headquarters, under COL Connor (1-1ID) that may have made it easier to do so. (The USMC is a little touchy about Army commanders disciplining their officers, for some reason, even though Navy officers do it all the time.)

The decision to relieve the officer was in the best interests of the Marine corps, the unit, the mission, and the men.

The matter, congressman, is concluded.

Splash, out


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