Best Defense

Firings and such, from Parris Island to the Morris review of Junger’s new ‘Tribe’

The commander of the recruit training regiment was ousted at Parris Island, along with the command sergeant major.


The commander of the recruit training regiment was ousted at Parris Island, along with the command sergeant major. This follows the relief a couple of months ago of a battalion commander. Has to do with the death of a Muslim recruit in which hazing is suspected. The clean sweep of the command structure indicates to me that the investigators are finding something pretty rotten.

The commander of the hospital at Fort Stewart was fired for giving medical care to the local community. Ambivalence alert.

(Here’s a scary thought: We all know the Army is much more protective of its senior officers than the Navy and Marines are. I’ve often noted that the Army fails to disclose it when it removes a colonel or general for cause. Which makes me wonder: Is the Army’s protectiveness the quid pro quo for micromanagement?)

In paramilitary and militia news, the cofounder of a border watch group called the Minutemen was convicted of molesting a five-year-old girl.

And David J. Morris, who knows his PTS stuff, reads the riot act to Sebastian Junger in a review of Junger’s new book, Tribe. Morris says Junger’s work is “filled with mistakes and misinformation,” and then lays out the numbers. For example:

One claim that Mr. Junger makes in the book and has repeated in recent media interviews is that “roughly half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have applied for permanent PTSD disability.” A review of the research literature shows that this “roughly half” figure in fact represents all medical disability claims being made, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric, and that only 7.8 percent of the current generation of veterans are receiving any form of PTSD compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Photo credit: Australian Naval Historical Collection/Collection Database of the Australian War Memorial/Wikimedia Commons

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 Twitter: @tomricks1

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