Cause for relief, or relief for cause?

While the firing of CAPT Owen Honor of the USS Enterprise is in the news, the Army has relieved the commander of the 172nd Infantry Brigade. Sources are pretty quiet about why COL Zachar was relieved. It doesn’t appear to have been any particular egregious breach of discipline.

The Army has relieved the commander of the 172nd Infantry Brigade, shortly before the unit intensifies its training for an Afghanistan deployment this summer.

Acting V Corps commander Brig. Gen. Allen W. Batschelet said Tuesday that Col. Frank Zachar was relieved of command on Monday, “… due to loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

Batschelet said there was no specific incident that led the Army to relieve Zachar.

“There weren’t any illegal, immoral or unethical activities,” he said. “His (Zachar’s) leadership style wasn’t really effective and over time the command here lost confidence in his ability to command.”

The Army, for good or ill, doesn’t relieve very many brigade commanders. The only one that really sticks out in my mind was in the 1st Armored Division shortly before we deployed to Desert Storm. One of the brigade commanders looked deep inside, and decided he didn’t have what it took to lead his troops to war. He went to the division commander and was relieved and replaced by COL Dan Zanini.

The concurrent relief of the 172nd’s Command Sergeant Major points to a problem with the command climate in the unit. We’ll see.

5 thoughts on “Cause for relief, or relief for cause?”

  1. The man Zanini replaced is to be admired for admitting he didn’t have what it takes. Many do not, yet are arogant enough to believe their own propaganda.

  2. Just did a bit of reading on this guy. He has done “the right jobs” at each level in the army from lieutenant on. Apparently he was marked for success early on. I am certainly curious now. Still say it must be command climate issues.

  3. The book “Iron Soldiers” by Tom Carhart gives a somewhat different perspective on the colonel that Zanini replaced. According to Carhart’s account, the colonel (who was not a Vietnam vet and was called “John Snowmont” in the book) was more or less malingering and his behavior alarmed the division commander to a point that he replaced “Snowmont” with COL Zanini. If I remember right, “Snowmont” did approach the division CG or one of the Assistant Div Cdr’s and ask out, but for a time they contemplated forcing him to go because he had been drawing a nice paycheck over the years. I think the division leadership eventually concluded that “Snowmont” was just scared.

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