General Carter F. Ham, the Combatant Commander of Africa Command (AFRICOM) and a key figure in the Benghazi-gate controversy, is leaving the Army. The exact date of his retirement has not been announced.
The mystery surrounding General Ham’s removal as Africom Commander if anything deepened with the announcement of his retirement. His removal caused enough controversy that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey felt compelled to offer the explanation which really says nothing, “General Ham’s departure is part of a routine succession planning that has been going on since July. He continues to serve in AFRICOM with my complete confidence.”
Routine succession? Ham assumed command in March of 2011 and his departure is announced on October 18 of 2012 and that is routine? Is the army that long on talent that it can burn through Combatant Commanders every 18 months or so? His predecessor, General William Ward held the command for 4 years. Ham is still a few years short of mandatory age so are we to believe that he just suddenly lost interest in his career? Ham was never a spit and polish West Pointer. He began his career as an enlisted man in the 82nd Airborne, an outfit that does not produce sissies. The army has too few men like him.
Coupled with the removal from command Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette Hams departure invites suspicion. Let’s try the corporate analogy. A firm has a monumental production problem and sustains huge losses. The CEO refuses to answer questions about his own role in the debacle but within a month two senior vice presidents with impeccable records and reputations have been demoted and one announces his retirement. You would buy stock in this company?
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