28 Oct 2012

General & Admiral Relieved For Defying Washington and Trying to Rescue Former SEALs?

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General Carter F. Ham

There are rumors, which seem to have originated in military circles, floating around that the commander of U.S. Africa Command and the commander of the aircraft carrier strike group USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were both relieved of their commands for defying orders to stand down, and attempting to send US forces to the assistance of the two former Navy SEALs besieged at Benghazi on September 11th.

The Carter Ham story was reported by James S. Robbind at the Washington Times:

Is an American General losing his job for trying to save the Americans besieged in Benghazi? This is the latest potential wrinkle in the growing scandal surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that left four men dead and President Obama scrambling for a coherent explanation.

On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, “the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.

However on October 26, “Ambassador” posted the following RUMINT on TigerDroppings (h/t Jim Hoft):

    I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.


    “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”

    The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

    General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

    The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.

This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.


Mike Johnson, at American Thinker, added:

The New York Times ran an article by Elisabeth Bumiller titled “Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi.” The article refers to the night of 11/12 September and includes the following: As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya. You probably have seen similar clips on TV. The impression being given by Mr. Panetta is that the three of them agreed upon the course of action.

Not how it works in the military. The junior person present gives his views, the next junior, his, and so on up the line until the senior person, in this case Mr. Panetta, makes the decision. It is not a vote and there is only one person with a veto, the senior person, Mr. Panetta. Of course, he could have had marching orders from higher up in the chain of command. Note also that the NYT piece, written eight days after Mr. Panetta’s announcement, makes no mention of General Ham being replaced as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Is it not relevant?


SundanceCracker is skeptical.

I doubt, allow me to repeat and emphasize, “doubt“, these reports are accurate. Why? Because Congressman Jason Chaffetz is on record stating that in his visit to Libya he travelled with General Ham. When Chaffetz asked Ham about whether he had a ready reaction force, according to Chaffetz – Ham told him “yes, however, we never got a request to assist in Benghazi”.

So why would there now be reports of Africom Command General Ham being replaced because of his non-compliance? He said he never got the request for help, or call to mobilize? He is not going to lie to the House Intelligence Committee – No motive, Period.


Ace successfully, I’d say, debunks any connection of events in Benghazi to the relief of Admiral Gaouette

The Stennis Carrier group is in the Persian Gulf area, which is the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. It’s nowhere near Libya, which is in the 6th Fleet AoR

Most importantly, this little tidbit in the [Stars and Stripes] story.

The Stennis group deployed from Bremerton in late August and had entered the Navy 5th Fleet’s area of operations in the Middle East on Oct. 17 after sailing across the Pacific.

I don’t know exactly where Stennis was on SEPTEMBER 11th but it was nowhere near Libya.

Calendars….How do they work?

My prediction: Gaouette’s “judgment” issues have more to do with the port calls in Thailand and Malaysia than nefarious politics.


Conclusion: Probably both Snopes fodder, though the General Ham story is not yet totally dismissable.

Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette

19 Feedbacks on "General & Admiral Relieved For Defying Washington and Trying to Rescue Former SEALs?"

Fred Curtis,SR

When I first heard that an Admiral was relieved, I suspected it had to due with the Libya situation.




If I am correct, the United States Officers have not given oath to follow the orders of the president, but to uphold the constitution against all enemies….

“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

“One notable difference between the officer and enlisted oaths is that the oath taken by officers does not include any provision to obey orders; while enlisted personnel are bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice to obey lawful orders, officers in the service of the United States are bound by this oath to disobey any order that violates the Constitution of the United States.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Uniformed_Services_Oath_of_Office

Jimmy Lawson

Obama is a little man and a pussy.

Once a Marine...Always a Marine

RM! USN RET- you are wrong my friend, an officer has a commission that commits one to serve at the pleasure of the President & Commander in Chief. This story is bogus. Even it is was true that the Gen decided to act on his own then he should be relieved for a failure to follow orders. With no intel there was and is no way a leader would put additional personnel in danger and literally sent them up for failure to make a Rambo like rescue attempt!


If men were sent to defend /save the men in Benghazi, we would shurrly be at war with them right now. BESIDES hOW COULD THEY BE SAVED WITHOUT KILLING lots of SOB’s . We do not need another war Obam is insuring that we will not win by cutting down the military. If he is in charge the next 4 years we will need to start teaching Arab instead french in our schools also start saving up your rags you will need them to replace the outdated “hat”


A lot of folk on that side of the world hate Americans, but they DO respect force / might. This country has to quit being politically correct and use lethal force with prejudice against all who seek to harm Americans. We need a President with steel balls and the will and wisdom to use them.

john reilly

relieved becasue of port calls in thailand?

Whats wrong with a little R&R in Pattaya?



Disgusting that they would stop these men from sending help and watch those people die on live satellite feed on purpose. What has happened to our nation. This will cause an uprising against this garbage within the entire military!

Semper Fi Marines go to the sound of the guns

“RM! USN RET” is absolutely correct in his comment. US military officers certainly do serve under the oversight and direction of the President as the constitutional Commander in Chief, but that fact in no contradicts the point RM! made that military officers are duty bound to uphold the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic! That is the sworn oath, or affirmation, of every military officer. The orders of a superior even the President) may only be obeyed by the subordinate if such orders are believed by the subordinate to be in accord with the US Constitution. Also, lack of direction from a superior to a subordinate is no excuse for failure to take appropriate action in any circumstance. The #1 rule given to the lowest ranking US military sentry always has been and still is: “Take charge of this post and all government property in view.” Some men have a bias for action, and those are the men that will do all in their power to rescue American lives in danger regardless of whether intelligence has gathered “enough good feelings” about the situation or not. Intel is no guarantee about anything–it is merely an educated guess based on any known facts along with numerous assumptions. Since when did we as Americans ever start thinking that a 4 star general somehow needs permission from his superiors to counter an attack against a US Ambassador who literally represents the President of the US to the particular country to which the Ambassador is dispatched??? We’ve come a long, long way from the days when we were willing to protect American lives anywhere in the world. If we won’t protect the weakest and most innocent among us right here at home (even at 7, 8 and 9 months old in their mother’s womb!), why then it must not be too important to protect Americans abroad either.

Hugh Coburn

As I read the officers oaths, both Regular and National Guard. There is no is no pledge to follow any man even the POTUS. I agree that they may serve at the pleasure of the POTUS or any of sevrel of his underlings.
But the problem arises when the POTUS, prevents or causes the officer not serve the Constitution. It would apper to me that who ever prevents the officer from carrying out those duties to the Constition, may be guilty of performing a Tresones Act.

Hugh Coburn

Please forgive the misspelling of the word ” Treasones”

Hugh Coburn

Treasonous Act

Hugh Coburn

Please read the oaths, make up your own mind, support or don’t support your officers for carrying out their duties, and allow the people who interfere to suffer the error of their ways.

Hugh Coburn

Oaths contained above in RMI USN RET!!

michael odwyer

Alas, the combination of information and disinformation has raised its ugly head out of the miasma of official government statements to the “we the people”concerning Benghazi-Gate. To those who have worked in/for/with the military/intelligence community and who have learned to read between the lines about this “surprise” catastrophe in Benghazi it makes sense to realize that when the 4 star told the congressman that…. Yes, a reaction force was prepared to go to the aid of the embattled ambassador and couraageous “former” seals in Benghazi and no order was given to send them was TRUE.He had made the decision to act then was relieved before he could give the order. The truth must be interpreted in context to understand the command dynamic. HIS own tactical decision to act was squelched at the highest level (not Paneta) because of the RISK/BENEFIT analysis-assesssment in the WHITE-HOUSE situation room on Sept 11.(where once again they were gathered around the table like we saw the nite of 1 May 2011 when the scene was played out around Operation Geronimo) The POLITICAL risk, not the moral or military risk was the matter of discussion that required the “consensus” of the decision to stand down and let it all play out to its natural ending with no survivors/witnesses at the compound. What about the statements from the CIA staff at the compound who followed orders and did NOT come to the aid of the trapped and surrounded at the ambassadors compound?? Not a word! they are under the “command” of Mr Petraeus(who is dealing with his own personal/professional problems ie Broadwell affair breakin) at the CIA HQ in Langley who is in the loop with SecDef and Sec State and POTUS that nite! Conclusion? Concensus is a political term; it is not a tactical term used by regional combat commanders at the one through four star ranks. Just ask yourself a few of the questions that will come up at the Congressional hearings on Benghazi when and if Sec Clinton ever recovers from her illness and head injury : Who brokered the arms transfers to the governments of the ARAB SPRING nations last summer? Why were the Israelis so upset about the Turkish vessel they boarded and found carrying military arms bound for SYRIA along with the cargo manifest that read aid for disaster relief to Syria?? Weapons that had originated in the US and were part of the aid package to both Egypt and Libya under the new US foreign policy of the POTUS being implemented by SoS Clinton? Who was the man on the ground overseeing the distribution of these military arms to the Arab Spring recipients? Why was he having an evening meeting with the Turkish diplomatic envoy at the Benghazi outpost and not at the centrally located,easily protected embassy in Tripoli?? How coincidental that the attack on OUR diplomatic mission began 30 minutes AFTER the Turkish representative left Ambassador Stephens compound that nite. Generals Petraeus,Ham, and others( SecDef and SecState and POTUS) will be teflon coated/ sealed by the TOP SECRET classification of the discussions / real time drone film footage that nite in the situation room and their private conversations with Commanders of AFRICOM and CARRIER STRIKE GROUP (Ham and Gaouette -exemplary men of honor courage and sworn to the allegiance to no mere man, but by oath bound to protect the Consttution) . Oh that the gutless underlings in the press operatzi at the network news “services”and our elected congress members would have the moral courage to investigate Benghazi with the tenacity used to expose the truth of Iran-Contra just 25 years ago! Perhaps the next darling in the SecState position will clarify it for us when he takes office. Or maybe the “Swift Boat veterans” will rise to the occasion once again to give a personal and first hand account of what really happened on 9/11 -2012 to their deceased Navy comrades in arms. May they rest in peace?

Ol' Sarge

The Benghazi tragedy/treasonous act is a clear and undeniable event that should be the hook for Congress to hang the PotUS on as he is impeached, then prosecuted for all of his actions/inactions since his first election. If thoroughly investigated by Congress, the Benghazi event that culminated in the death of Ambassador Stevens would seal even the PotUS’ fate.
But, Good Luck with that!

Fred Kapelski

It is of course hard to say. Most of what comes from the White House are lies and continual prevarications. Then, there is the former Secretary of Defense who with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told the Senate that they answer only to the president, NATO and the UN. If need be, Congress would be informed. So, where in the fog of lies and deception is the truth? It will certainly NOT be forthcoming. USN vet 6/70 – 6/74.

Tony Petros

The stench coming from Washington and this evil administration is a stain on our country. Obama and his regime should be held accountable and those guilty of betraying America should be punished.


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