Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | April 04, 2003

US Marine commander relieved of post in Iraq

US Marine commander relieved of post in Iraq

A US commander who led a fierce push by Marines through southern Iraq towards Baghdad has been relieved of his post for an undisclosed reason, a US military spokesman said.

Colonel Joe Dowdy, commander of the Marines 1st Regimental Combat Team, was removed as head of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force's Regimental Combat Team 1, said public affairs officer Steven Schweitzer.

"He was responsible for the regiment until three hours ago," Mr Schweitzer said.

Colonel Joe Dowdy was described as a popular commander who kept casualties down in leading his troops to some 130 kilometres from Baghdad by Friday.

This is very serious. To be relieved of command in combat, of a Marine regiment, means a great deal.

Let me explain: battalion command is a rare job for most officers. It is a sign from the Gods (such that they are), that you are chosen for high rank. The Army 90 such jobs for infantry and armor officers. The Marines, 27. As my father (an ex-Marine) says, commanding a Marine Infantry Battalion is like sitting at the right hand of God. To get a regiment is that much more a comment on your future as a Marine officer.

To command the First Marines is a big deal. Why? Because that was Chesty Puller's regiment. Puller is the Marine's Marine. His legacy was one which still affects the Marines to this day. Anyone who inherits the "First of the First" is thought of very highly by his superiors. His picture is up in many Marine offices, even today.

There are usually only three reasons to be relieved of command: failure to capture an objective in a timely manner, losing too many men in the assault and either physical or mental collaspe.

I will not speculate further on why he was relieved until it becomes clear what happened. He could have had a heart attack or other illness and suggesting anything else would be grossly unfair, considering the severity of this action. If it was not due to illness, his career is over, in the most humilating way possible.
There is no greater rebuke of your leadership than to lose it while in operations against the enemy.

Steve Gilliard

Posted April 04, 2003 03:55 PM | Comments (44)


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