82nd’s Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair removed from job in Afghanistan

(Henry Cuningham)   The Army is investigating Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who has been reassigned from Afghanistan back to Fort Bragg, officials said Friday.

Earlier this month, Sinclair was removed from his job as the 82nd Airborne Division’s deputy commanding general for support in Afghanistan. He had been deputy commander since July 2010.

“This is a criminal investigation,” said Ben Abel, a Fort Bragg spokesman.

Sinclair has returned to Fort Bragg for his assignment as special assistant to the commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Abel said.

The incident is the first in recent memory in which a Fort Bragg general was removed from a position and investigated.

The Department of Defense announced May 2 that Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire was reassigned as deputy division commander. McGuire was deputy chief Army legislative liaison and took the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq for a year.

In Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins and the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters are in charge of NATO’s Regional Command South at Kandahar.

“The 82nd Airborne Division team remains strong and focused on our mission,” said Lt. Col. Dave Connolly, chief of public affairs for the division and regional command.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Forces divides Afghanistan into regional commands under U.S., Italian, German and Turkish one- and two-star generals. Regional Command South includes the provinces of Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Daykundi, where some of the toughest fighting is taking place. NATO forces are working with the Afghan government to improve security, defeat the insurgency and foster economic growth.

Huggins’ headquarters has worked with forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Romania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Jordan and Singapore.

No information was available about the time frame of the investigation or why Sinclair is being investigated, Abel said.

“It is the policy of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command not to release information on allegations of wrongdoing or information concerning open investigations to protect the integrity of those investigations,” said Jeffrey Castro, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command at Quantico, Va. “Generally, information is releasable after cases are closed, referred to commanders for disposition, and disciplinary action has been completed.”

Typically the job of “special assistant” is a temporary title for a high-ranking officer between assignments. Sinclair is special assistant to Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, who will relinquish command Tuesday. Maj. Gen. Rodney Anderson, the deputy corps commander, will be in charge until the arrival of Lt. Gen. Dan Allyn next month.

“There is not going to be a break in responsibility,” Abel said.

Sinclair was commissioned through ROTC in December 1985 after graduating from West Virginia University. He was trained as an infantry and field artillery officer.

In May 1999, he came to Fort Bragg to become the Army operations officer and later chief of the Plans and Training Division in the Joint Special Operations Command. In June 2001, he became the executive officer of the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and participated in operations in Afghanistan.

http://fayobserver.com/articles/2012/05/11/1176788?sac=fo.home

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