The Best Defense

82nd Airborne general shipped home from Afghanistan under criminal investigation

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, the 82nd Airborne's deputy commanding general for support, has been sent home from Afghanistan under a cloud. "This is a criminal investigation," a military spokesman ominously told the Fayetteville Observer.

What up with that?

It reminds me of a story a historian of the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth once told me. Eisenhower was busting a major general who had gotten drunk and talked about top secret stuff in a hotel bar in London. "Don't send me to Leavenworth, Ike," the major general supposedly said. "No general has ever done time at Leavenworth."

"No, they haven't -- colonel," responded Ike.

(This may be one of those tales too good to check out. I read tons of WWII history over the last three years, including lots of Ike's papers, and I never saw this exchange recounted. But it does resemble the story of Maj. Gen. Henry Jervis Friese Miller, a senior Air Force supply officer, who got drunk at a party at Claridge's hotel in London and announced that the D Day invasion of France would take place by mid-June. (See "Army and Navy: Silence is Golden," Time Magazine, June 191944.) After his indiscretion was reported, he wrote to Eisenhower, a West Point classmate of his, recognizing that he would be relieved, but asking that he be allowed to keep his rank. Eisenhower denied the request and reduced him to his permanent rank of colonel. Miller went home and left the army a few months later.)

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