Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 21, 2004

Army launches inquiry into reservists' mission refusal

by Alex Mazerov, Page Editor
This is not original reporting.  All information has been compiled from the USA Today article "Army reviews reservists in mission refusal."

The Army has begun investigating members of a reserve unit in Iraq who, last week, refused to deliver a fuel shipment under conditions they deemed unsafe.

The 18 soldiers involved are all members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company, based in Rock Hill, S.C.  They allegedly balked at orders to drive fuel trucks from Tallil Air Force Base to Taji, 15 miles north of Baghdad.  The reservists said their safety was threatened by poorly maintained vehicles that lacked armor, according to USA Today

Staff Sergeant Christopher Stokes told The Associated Press that reserve soldiers were supplied with substandard equipment. "It wasn't really safe," he said.

Brigadier General James Chambers, commander of the 13th Corps Support Command, called the incident isolated.  "This is a single event confined to a small group," he said, according to USA Today.

The incident raises questions about discipline and the state of military equipment.  The Army has launched an inquiry to determine if the soldiers' disobedience violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Reserve and National Guard troops, who comprise about 40 percent of U.S. military forces stationed in Iraq, are often involved in hazardous missions, including resupplying American soldiers.  Chambers said convoy missions are often dangerous.  "It's not a question of if, but when they'll be attacked," he said.

The reservists who refused the mission were moved to a separate location and have since returned to duty.

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  • Isamu Bae on October 21, 2004
    It's a wonder something like this does not occur more often.
  • Anonymous on October 25, 2004
    maybe it does happen more often, and we just don't hear about it.
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