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Four-star general stripped of command

There has to be something significant behind this; the question is, will the whole story come out.

The Army, in a rare disciplinary act against a four-star officer, said today it relieved Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes of his command at Hampton’s Fort Monroe in the midst of an investigation into unspecified “personal conduct.”

Byrnes was relieved as commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command on Monday by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, according to a brief statement issued by Army headquarters at the Pentagon.

In that post, Byrnes oversaw all Army training programs and the development of war-fighting guidelines. It operates 33 training schools and centers on 16 Army installations and is headquartered at Fort Monroe.

Although disciplinary action against general officers is not uncommon, it is extremely rare for a four-star general to be relieved of command. Byrnes held the position as commander of Training and Doctrine Command since November 2002. Before that he was director of the Army staff at Army headquarters in the Pentagon.

“The investigation upon which this relief is based is undergoing further review to determine the appropriate final disposition of this matter,” the Army statement said.

A spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Bryan Whitman, said the investigation involved “matters of personal conduct,” but he would not say more.

Other officials said the matter was being investigated by the Defense Department Inspector General.

In looking for another instance of an officer this high up getting the boot, these are what came up:

* Navy Adm. Richard C. Macke was sacked as commander of Pacific Command in 1995 for remarks he made about the case of U.S. Marines accused of raping a 12-year-old Japanese girl

* Gen. Michael Dugan, who was fired as chief of staff of the Air Force in 1990 for comments to reporters about planning for the 1991 Gulf War.

Thanks to House Blender and Julien’s List contributor Holly for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding