Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is underway.
Retired generals and current senior commanders that have spoken with TheBlaze say the administration is not only purging the military of commanders they don’t agree with, but is striking fear in the hearts of those still serving.
The timing comes as the five branches of the U.S. armed forces are reducing staff due to budget cuts, and as U.S. troops are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan next year.
“I think they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or not tow the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis,” a senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution.
“Even as a retired general, it’s still possible for the administration to make life miserable for us. If we’re working with the government or have contracts, they can just rip that out from under us,” he said.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said the White House fails to take action or investigate its own, but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”
“Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama’s ideology,” Vallely said. “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into fast and furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”
A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said even “young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job — just keep your mouth shut.
THE NINE MILITARY COMMANDERS FIRED THIS YEAR BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
Gen. Carter Hamm, Army
Served as head of the United States African Command during the bloodshed in Benghazi, Libya when four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two retired Navy Seals, were murdered by militants on Sept. 11, 2012. Senior military officials told TheBlaze Hamm was extremely critical of the Obama administration, including when reinforcements were not sent to help the U.S. citizens under attack in Benghazi. Hamm “resigned and retired” in April 2013.
Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, Navy
Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three. He recently served as deputy commander of the U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command. He was in charge of Air Craft Carriers in the Mediterranean Sea the night of the Benghazi assault on Sept. 11, 2012. Under testimony, he told Congress there may not have been time to get the flight crews to Benghazi, but left the door open when he told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) under cross-examination that he could have launched aircraft to the destination. He was later accused of using profanity in a public setting and making at least two racially insensitive comments. While he was cleared of any criminal violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he still faced administrative penalties that have ended his career.
Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, Army
Major General Baker served as commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar in Djibouti, Africa. According to several military officials who spoke to TheBlaze, he was also involved in some aspect with the Benghazi incident Sept. 11, 2012. He was relieved of command and fired for allegedly groping a civilian, but no assault charges or sexual misconduct charges were filed with military JAG officials.
Brigadier Gen. Bryan Roberts, Army
General Roberts took command of Fort Jackson in 2011. He was considered a rising star in his field and served in Iraq during his service as the commanding officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He was the deputy commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky. He was relieved of duty and fired for adultery — still on the books in the United States Code of Military Justice but rarely since President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.
Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, Marine Corps
Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command and commander of the aviation wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He was a highly-decorated Marine with two Naval and Marine Commendations, two Naval and Marine Good Conduct medals, as well as the Air Medal with a gold star. He was one of two commanding officers suddenly relieved of command and fired from the military for failure to use proper force protection at the camp after 15 Taliban fighters attacked Camp Bastion on Sept. 14, 2012, resulting in the deaths of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27.
Maj. Gen. Charles M.M. Gurganus, Marine Corps
Regional commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan. Highly decorated with a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit with Valor, and three Meritorious Service Commendations. According to several military officials, Gurganus questioned having to use Afghan security patrols alongside American patrols after two officers were executed at their desk and a platoon was lead into an ambush on the front lines.
Lt. Gen. David Holmes Huntoon Jr, Army
Served as the 58th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the same academy in 1973 and had served in Senior Planning and Education Services through the majority of his career. He was “censored” for “an investigation” into an “improper relationship” according to the Department of Defense. Nothing was released to the nature of the improper relationship. Nothing was even mentioned if an actual investigation even took place.
Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Navy
Deputy Commander of the United States Strategic Command. He was commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10, where every single one of the 18 Nuclear Submarines with Nuclear Trident Missiles of those three groups were in his command. This commander earned six Legions of Merit, Two Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and several other medals and ribbons. He is under criminal investigation for the alleged use of counterfeit gambling chips, while playing a poker game at a western Iowa casino.
Major Gen. Michael Carey, Air Force
Commander 20th Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles at three operational wings and served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Carry was fired October 11, 2013, for “personal misbehavior,” according to ABC News. Pentagon and Air Force senior officials have remained relatively tight-lipped about Carry’s firing.