Two Marine generals were fired for not protecting a southern Afghanistan base adequately enough. Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant are the two Marine Corps personnel involved, and the Washington Post shared the details on Sept. 30.
The Marine generals were fired after it was determined they were negligent in protecting the base against an insurgent attack. Two men died and a number of AV-8B Harrier jets were destroyed in the attack. Eight others were wounded, and there was about $200 million in damage to the aircraft at the base.
Gen. James F. Amos determined that the two generals did not have enough guards around the base, and they did not employ other necessary measures to protect against the Taliban ground attack. Amos said they “failed to exercise the level of judgment expected of commanders of their rank.”
It's highly unusual for a general to be relieved of his duties, as the Post notes this is the first time since the Vietnam War a general has faced such a thing. To have two Marine generals fired, or more accurately relieved of their command, is virtually unheard of in the Corps. However, the attack they are said to have been inadequately prepared for was unusual as well.
Should the two Marine generals have been fired for their decisions? It seems they will be allowed to retire, but it has not yet been determined whether they will be able to retire with their major general rank. Was the attack, and the issues that lead to being vulnerable to the attack itself just another example of the challenges faced by the military in the war in Afghanistan more so than a lack of proper judgment by these leaders? Some would say that is certainly the case, and that perhaps these two Marine Corps generals are taking the brunt of blame that is related to bigger issues at play in this war.