Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Commander of Marine Wounded Warrior Regiment Relieved Over Loss of Confidence

The Marine Corps relieved the commander of its Wounded Warrior unit at Quantico, Va., on Thursday morning. The commander, Col. Shane “Rhino” Tomko, confirmed to relief to me in an e-mail. He took command of the regiment in July 2014. I called the Marine public affairs office at Quantico about this situation when I first ...

Tomko_2-13
Tomko_2-13

The Marine Corps relieved the commander of its Wounded Warrior unit at Quantico, Va., on Thursday morning.

The commander, Col. Shane “Rhino” Tomko, confirmed to relief to me in an e-mail.

He took command of the regiment in July 2014.

The Marine Corps relieved the commander of its Wounded Warrior unit at Quantico, Va., on Thursday morning.

The commander, Col. Shane “Rhino” Tomko, confirmed to relief to me in an e-mail.

He took command of the regiment in July 2014.

I called the Marine public affairs office at Quantico about this situation when I first learned of it on Wednesday. They didn’t call me back. I called them again yesterday and the officer I spoke to, Maj. Rob Doland, e-mailed a statement saying that the action was taken “due to a loss of confidence in his leadership and ability to maintain positive command climate.” It also said that an investigation is continuing.

Anyway, it is a shame to see Col. Tomko’s career end this way. He enlisted in 1983. I first came across him in Haiti in 1995, when his Golf Company got in a short, sharp firefight with Haitian police. I think the swift and controlled response of his Marines made an impression on the Duvalierist dead enders of Cap-Haïtien. Many years later he interviewed me for his master’s thesis. He also spent time at JSOC, working as a planner for Gen. McChrystal and Adm. McRaven.

It sounds to me like he might have been a combat leader peg in the wounded regiment’s round hole. I wish him well.

Meanwhile, something went weird at an exercise in 29 Palms yesterday. I didn’t know you could fit 22 Marines in an AAV.

U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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