Sanctions for U.S. Troops Who Balked in Iraq
- The U.S. military in Iraq has disciplined 18 soldiers who refused to go
out on a transport convoy they thought was too dangerous, but the
reservists will not face court-martial, a military spokesman said Monday.
Colonel Steve Boylan said a further five would also face
"non-judicial" punishment under Article 15 of the U.S. military
justice code, making 23 troops disciplined in this way.
declined to detail the sanctions. Article 15 gives commanders discretion
to order brief detention of up to a month, loss of up to a month's pay,
extra duties and loss of rank.
whether the command had taken into account complaints by the reservists
that the fuel trucks they were asked to drive through hostile central Iraq
were not sufficiently armored, Boylan declined to comment beyond saying:
"The soldiers' performances are all taken into account."
a court martial, soldiers found guilty of refusing to obey an order can be
sentenced to up to two years in jail.
of the 343rd Quartermaster Company, based at Rock Hill, South Carolina,
disobeyed orders to take their unarmored fuel tankers on a supply run from
Tallil, near Nassiriya, in southeastern Iraq to Taji, just north of
Baghdad, on Oct. 13.
raised concerns about the safety and the condition of their vehicles and
whether the convoy was getting adequate protection. Dozens of roadside
bombs go off in Iraq every week, targeting U.S. convoys and putting the
truck drivers and convoy guards who keep the army supplied in the front
relatives have said the soldiers believed they were delivering
contaminated helicopter fuel.
U.S. military runs about 250 convoys daily involving up to 3,000 vehicles
to supply and equip its troops in Iraq.
The commander of the company was relieved of her duties after the incident. Other soldiers carried out the Oct. 13 supply mission, the military said. The 343rd Quartermaster Company returned to full duty on Nov. 11.