Thursday, October 21, 2004
From the AP wire:
The company commander of a U.S. Army Reserve unit whose soldiers refused to deliver fuel along a dangerous route in Iraq has been relieved of her duties, the U.S. military said Thursday.
The decision to relieve the commander of the 343rd Quartermaster Company came at her request and is effective immediately, according to a statement from the 13th Corps Support Command. It was authorized by Brig. Gen. James E. Chambers.
''The outgoing commander is not suspected of misconduct and this move has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of anyone involved,'' the statement said.
The commander, whose name is being withheld by the military to protect her privacy, will be reassigned to another position commensurate with her rank and experience, the U.S. military said.
Eighteen soldiers from the 343rd Quartermaster Company, based in Rock Hill, S.C., are under investigation for refusing to drive a fuel convoy from Tallil air base near Nasiriyah to Taji north of Baghdad . . . .
The father of one of the soldiers involved said the reservists refused to carry out the operation only after another military outpost rejected the fuel they were to deliver.
The soldiers had just returned from a 3½-day journey to deliver the fuel to a city north of Baghdad, but military officials there found that the supplies were contaminated, said John Coates, who said he spoke to his son Thursday.
When the soldiers returned to their base with the fuel still in the tankers, their commander ordered the platoon to prepare for another transport mission, this time to a hotspot of guerrilla activity, Coates said.